Category Archives: Fraud

Baltimore ex-mayor enters guilty pleas in fraud case

The disgraced former mayor of Baltimore pleaded guilty Thursday to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges involving sales of her self-published children’s books, a case that exposed anew the depths of corruption in Maryland’s largest city.

Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the government and two counts of tax evasion. She pleaded not guilty to seven counts of wire fraud that were included in the indictment unsealed a day earlier.

The case centered on sales of her self-published “Healthy Holly” books to nonprofits and foundations to promote her political career and fund her run for mayor. Pugh, a veteran Democratic politician who was elected mayor in 2016, resigned under pressure in May. Read More

Fmr Army colonel sentenced to federal prison for Fort Gordon fraud, kickback scheme

A former active-duty U.S. Army colonel has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for accepting bribes to help steer military contracts to a business fraudulently claiming status as a small business.

Anthony R. Williams, 59, of Vienna, Va., was sentenced Aug. 30, 2019 to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Dudley H. Bowen after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and felony conflict of interest, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

Williams previously agreed to forfeit more than $1.2 million in proceeds derived from the scheme. After completion of his sentence, he will serve three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

According to information provided in court documents and proceedings, Williams, while serving as a colonel in the U.S. Army, accepted bribes to steer federal procurement contracts to the CREC Group, a company owned by Calvin Devear Lawyer, 60, a retired U.S. Army colonel. The CREC Group had received Small Business Administration (SBA) status as a small, disadvantaged business based on false representations from Lawyer and from Dwayne Oswald Fulton, 58, then an employee of a defense contractor.

Lawyer previously pled guilty in the case and is serving a 60-month prison sentence, while co-conspirator, Anthony Roper, 57, a former active duty U.S. Army colonel at Fort Gordon, also pled guilty and is serving a 60-month sentence.

The cases were investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Inspector General, and the United States Attorney’s Office.

“Williams’ sentence wraps up an investigation that shed light on a cynical and disheartening scheme to steal taxpayer funds intended for our nation’s military,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “These men disgraced their oaths to serve their country, and accordingly are being held accountable for their despicable thefts.”

“Today’s sentencing is another clear example that no matter how hard one may try to get away with fraud, you will be caught,” said Frank Robey, director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “This defendant used the trust placed in him by the government to line his pockets. This sentence is well-deserved.”

“SBA OIG is committed to bringing to justice those engaged in conspiracy to commit fraud against SBA and its programs,” said SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kupperbusch. “Today’s sentencing sends a strong message that those responsible will be held accountable.  I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners for their support and dedication to pursuing justice in this case.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Lyons prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. Source

Information from Department of Justice.

US government to give DNA tests at border to check for fraud

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will begin voluntary DNA testing in cases where officials suspect that adults are fraudulently claiming to be parents of children as they cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The decision comes as Homeland Security officials are increasingly concerned about instances of child trafficking as a growing number of Central American families cross the border, straining resources to the breaking point. Border authorities also recently started to increase the biometric data they take from children 13 and younger, including fingerprints, despite privacy concerns and government policy that restricts what can be collected.

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security wouldn’t say where the DNA pilot program would begin, but they did say it would start as early as next week and would be very limited.

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Marine veteran running scam charity targeting Marine Corps families pleads guilty to wire fraud

A Marine veteran running a scam charity called Marines and Mickey pleaded guilty to wire fraud, according to the United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina.

John Shannon Simpson faces 20 years in prison or and/or a fine of $250,000, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Sherri A. Lydon, District of South Carolina.

Feds say the 43 year-old founder of the charity bilked people into donating money to help send Marines and families to Disney resorts and to cover the cost of attending boot camp graduation.

Victims of the scam included active-duty Marines, and Cathy Wells, whose son, Lance Cpl. Skip Wells, was killed in the 2015 attack on the military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to a report from the Charlotte Observer.

According to court documents, Wells gave nearly $135,000 dollars to the charity, some from her son’s death benefits.

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Former Bankrate CFO Sentenced to 10 Years for Accounting Fraud

The former chief financial officer of Bankrate Inc., the financial services and marketing company, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for securities and accounting fraud that resulted in $25 million in shareholder losses, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

Edward DiMaria, 53 years old, was also ordered to pay restitution of $21.2 million to Bankrate’s shareholders. Mr. DiMaria pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to make false statements to the company’s accountants, falsify the company’s books, records and accounts, and commit securities fraud, as well as one count of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The significant sentence handed down today underscores the serious nature of corporate fraud and the damage it causes to shareholders and to the public’s trust in our financial markets,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement.

Mr. DiMaria’s attorneys didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr. DiMaria admitted to conspiring and directing a scheme to artificially inflate Bankrate’s earnings through “cookie jar” or “cushion” accounting, a practice in which a company keeps a large quantity of reserves from an economically successful year on its books to boost its earnings results, while incurring them against losses during weaker quarters.

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Teens are recruited to work for international fraud rings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Young teens are being recruited by international criminals to get cash from ATMs using fraudulent cards, according to Nashville law enforcement officials.

Three teens were charged in Mt. Juliet for allegedly using encoded cards at two ATMs. Some of the cards were sewn into the females’ clothing.

According to local law enforcement, the teens were likely recruited.

“The criminals are looking for people in desperate circumstances,” said Matthew Preston, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge for the Secret Service. “They’ll say ‘Hey, here’s an easy way for you to make a little cash.’ They’re taking advantage of them.”

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7 indicted for massive $8.5 million food stamp fraud scheme in Massillon

CLEVELAND – Seven people have been indicted in connection with a large-scale food stamp scheme in which they allegedly defrauded millions from the SNAP program.

Authorities said the seven people had a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Some face other charges of wire fraud and more.

The indictment handed down in U.S. District Court names Kaitlin Koher, owner of Ohio Direct Distributors, which used to be housed on Lincoln Way in Massillon.

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Rachel Dolezal Faces Felony Charges of Welfare Fraud in Washington State

Rachel Dolezal is facing a felony theft charge related to alleged welfare fraud.

The former NAACP local chapter leader, who is white but posed as a black woman, has been accused of first-degree theft by welfare fraud, second-degree perjury and false verification for public assistance by authorities in Washington state.

Dolezal could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, according to KHQ.

Court documents allege Dolezal, who has legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo, illegally received $8,747 in food assistance and $100 in child care assistance starting in August 2015 up until November 2017.

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7 arrested in Travis Co. Tax-Assessor Collector’s office fraud scheme

“This is something we don’t tolerate.  This is taxpayer money.  We’re government employees.  This is a priority for us at the department,” said DPS Regional Commander Freeman Martin.

Seven arrests: charges like forgery, organized crime, bribery.

“There’s a lot of things about this investigation we can’t talk about.  This is an ongoing investigation that still has to be prosecuted,” Freeman said.

Martin joined DMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster and Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore at a press conference Monday morning about the multi-agency fraud investigation called “Operation Even Trade.”

Martin says the investigation launched in March at the request of the D.A.

“Say somebody purchases a vehicle.  When you go to the Tax-Assessor Collector’s office, you pay taxes on the amount of that vehicle.  So there’s a potential there for corruption,” Martin said.

According to court paperwork, 43-year-old Shell Kenneth Prieto-Reese and 57-year-old Cathy Lynn Wilson worked together at the Precinct 1 tax office on Hefflin Lane.  43-year-old Susie Alvarez Araujo and 35-year-old Steven Hernandez worked at Precinct 2 in Pflugerville.

The employees are accused of entering false values on title form applications, resulting in the reduction of sales tax sent to the state.

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College President Pleads Guilty Before Arkansas Fraud Trial

The president of a Christian college in Springdale pleaded guilty to a fraud charge Wednesday, admitting he took part in what prosecutors called a kickback scheme involving his school.

Oren Paris III had faced a trial Monday with former state Sen. Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton. Instead, the president of Ecclesia College pleaded guilty in federal court.

Prosecutors say Paris paid kickbacks to Woods and then-Rep. Micah Neal in return for $550,000 in state grants in 2013-14, using Shelton’s consulting firm as a go-between. Neal pleaded guilty last year but has not been sentenced.

Woods, a Republican, faces 15 fraud counts while Paris and Shelton were named in 14 counts. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Paris pleaded guilty to a fraud charge Wednesday. All had been charged with conspiracy, and Woods also faces a money-laundering charge.

Paris plead guilty to transferring $50,000 of a $200,000 in grant money from Woods and Neal to Shelton. Shelton sent $40,000 of the money to Woods as a kickback, according to Paris’ plea.

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