Criminal Wire Fraud Blog

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

Marcus Brian Curry, 35, of Allen, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal mail fraud before United States Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush and admitted to devising a scheme that defrauded certain homeowner, buyers, and lending institutions.  Curry, a North Texas businessman, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.  A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled at this time but will take place in Sherman.

According to information provided in court, Curry owned and operated a real estate company based in Allen, South Coast L.P., from June 2006 to February 2014.  During this time, he used mail advertisements to solicit homeowners who were dealing with current financial problems.  Curry told these homeowners they could protect their credit by transferring the title of their homes to him with the promise that he would assume responsibility for making the mortgage payments.

Once the titles were transferred, Curry would then sell the property to a new buyer, conceal that there was an original lien holder, and often not make the original mortgage payments as promised. To hide the existing lien from the new buyers, Curry financed the mortgage himself and had the new buyers send their payments to a private mail box which he controlled.

In total, Curry’s fraudulent actions created losses of approximately $2.4 million.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Christopher A. Eason led the prosecution.

Posted in Mail Fraud |

Former New Orleans Police Officers Sentenced for Wire Fraud

Two former New Orleans Police Department narcotics detectives were sentenced on Thursday July 17th to eighteen months in prison for charges of federal wire fraud and theft. Rafael Dobard, 39, and Quincy Jones, 33, have also been ordered by United States District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown to repay $18,484 and $19,064 to the city of New Orleans.

The two men pleaded guilty in February to fraud and conspiracy charges after being arrested in November of 2013 by FBI Agents. Dobard and Jones admitted to submitting falsified time sheets showing that they had been working for the NOPD during hours when they were actually working as security guards at New Orleans housing projects. Both men are also guilty of stealing funds that had been set aside for informants and other officers in their unit.

Dobard had been an NOPD officer for eight years, Jones for 11 years. Both officers had previously been assigned as detectives to NOPD’s Fourth District Narcotics Unit and were suspended in February of this year.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Orleans Police Department Integrity Bureau. Assistant United States Attorney Michael B. Redmann prosecuted the case.


Posted in Wire Fraud |

Oklahoma Woman Sentenced for Defrauding Banks

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma has announced that Michelle Rena McIninch, 44, has been sentenced for wire fraud.  McIninch, who pleaded guilty to defrauding several banks in November 2013, will serve 5 months in prison, followed by 5 months of home detention, and 3 years of supervised release.  She has also been ordered to pay $29,337.74 in restitution for violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.

According to information provided at trial, McIninch executed a scheme to defraud banks within the Eastern District of Oklahoma between January 2013 and March 2013.  Investigators say that McIninch used Comchecks to make fraudulent deposits into several bank accounts before later withdrawing cash from different automated teller machines (ATMs).  The scheme caused a total loss of $43,121.11 to First United Bank, Landmark Bank, BancFirst and First Texoma Bank

McIninch has been ordered by United States District Court Judge Ronald A. White to report to the Bureau of Prisons on August 14, 2014 to begin her sentence.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Office of Emily Redman, District 19 District Attorney and the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Chris Wilson prosecuted the case.

Posted in Wire Fraud |

Army National Guard Solider Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Bribery

Sergeant First Class Eduardo Ruesga-Larracilla, a United States Army National Guard soldier from San Antonio, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and wire fraud, and one count of bribery to a public official.  The charges stem from his role in a corruption scheme that involved fraudulent recruiting bonuses from the Army National Guard Bureau.

Ruesga, 41, admitted to conspiring with a recruiter between January 2010 and October 2011; and to paying him for the personal information of potential Army National Guard soldiers.  Rusega used the personal information to fraudulently claim that he was responsible for referring these soldiers for enlistment in the National Guard.

Through the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP), a participating soldier could receive up to $2,000 in bonus payments for a referral. A participating solider would also be eligible to receive direct deposits into their personal checking accounts based on certain milestones achieved by the referred solider.  This referral program started in approximately September 2005.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 9th before United States District Judge Orlando L. Garcia in San Antonio, Texas.

This case is being investigated by the San Antonio Fraud Resident Agency of the Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit.  The investigation has led to charges being filed against 26 individuals, 24 of whom have already pleaded guilty.

Posted in Wire Fraud |

Blue-jean Retailer Charged with Wire Fraud

Carolyn Marie Jones, 51, was arrested on Tuesday by Special Agents with the United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service. She has been charged with federal wire fraud after allegedly using money from two Georgia investors for her own personal expenses. Jones, who was free on bond in a bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud case, was prohibited from soliciting funds from investors while the September 23rd trial was pending. If convicted, the wire fraud charge carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.

Jones was the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Decisions, Inc., which sold denim jeans marketed under the labels of Privacywear and PRVCY Premium. According to the 19-count indictment, Jones obtained a $15 million line of credit from Union Bank using fraudulent financial statements and tax returns. The indictment also revealed that Jones used a Social Security Number that belonged to someone else, hid from the bank a previous bankruptcy filing, and failed to disclose her felony criminal record. Jones defaulted on the $15 million loan a year later which led to Union Bank filing a lawsuit against her in state court. When Union Bank tried to seize the inventory in the Diamond Decisions warehouse, Jones caused the company to file for bankruptcy and concealed the assets from the bankruptcy trustee. She faces a maximum sentence of 489 years in federal prison on the bank and bankruptcy fraud indictment.

These charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service.

Posted in Wire Fraud |

Former Library Head Charged with Federal Wire Fraud

Scott Klingerman, the former interim director of the Walkertown-Lincoln Township Public Library, has been charged with 10 counts of federal wire fraud after he allegedly defrauded the library during his two year tenure.  The indictment accuses Klingerman of embezzling thousands of dollars from library accounts and spending the money on hotels, a health club membership, travel, car insurance payments, gas, and restaurants.   Prosecutors say that Klingerman used his access to library accounts, which included a debit card, to conduct this fraudulent scheme.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office sued Klingerman in August and asked a judge to order him to pay back the $96,000 he allegedly cost the library.  Klingerman is believed to have stolen $57,000 in public funds, generated nearly $33,000 in tax penalties and overdraft fees, and cost taxpayers $6,000 associated with an audit conducted by the State Board of Accounts.  The audit is said to have revealed a “brazen misappropriation of public funds,” according to Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

Court records show that authorities arrested Klingerman on Tuesday, June 17th. He has since been released on a $10,000 bond.

These charges are a result of an investigation by the Indiana State Police, the Indiana State Board of Accounts and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Barbara Z. Brook.

Posted in Wire Fraud |

Crystal Lake Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

Michael S. Mackay, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court  to a mail fraud scheme that tricked victims into thinking they were part of a “secret shoppers” program.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced in a news release that the scheme ran from September 2011 through at least May 16, 2012.

Mackay chose to target individuals who applied to work-at-home advertisements on the internet.  Victims received a letter containing at least one counterfeit instrument, ranging from $500 to $2000, and were told to deposit the funds into their personal bank accounts.  They were then instructed to keep a portion of the money for their services, and wire the remaining money from a local Western Union.  Victims were also asked to e-mail reports about their shopping experiences to addresses included in the letters.

According to the release, Mackay received at least $2 million in counterfeit negotiable instruments sent to Crystal Lake from New York, Nigeria, and Ghana.  He then sent a portion back out across the country.  In total, Mackay received at least $10,000 from victims involved in the scheme.

In the original indictment, prosecutors accused Mackay of sending out over $1 million in fake money orders and mailing packages to at least 665 people. Neither of these numbers was mentioned in the plea agreement.

Mackay faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and between one and five years of probation.  He could also face a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the fraud, whichever is greater.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on September 19th.

Posted in Mail Fraud |

Louisiana Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud

Gregory Martin Walker, who was charged with federal wire fraud in connection to movie tax schemes in Louisiana, was sentenced to 70 months in prison last Thursday by United States District Judge James J. Brady.  Walker must pay investors restitution in the amount of $1,833,619.25, and also forfeit nearly $1 million dollars for the property that was obtained from the fraud.

According to investigators, Walker, 47, swindled nearly $4 million from investors by buying and selling Louisiana motion picture investor tax credits which he did not own.  In order to carry out the scheme, Walker forged the signatures of various individuals on the tax credit purchase agreements and used interstate wires to complete the transactions. In total, Walker sold bogus tax credits with a face value of $3,823,441 to twenty four investors and collected $2,560,670.  The scheme began in August of 2011 and continued through January 2013.

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Anderson stated, “This conviction should convey a clear message to the public that schemes to defraud that interfere with legitimate government incentives to stimulate economic growth in Louisiana will not be tolerated.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Louisiana Inspector General’s Office, and the United States Grand Jury for the Middle District of Louisiana.  The prosecuting attorney in this case was Assistant United States Attorney Rene I. Salomon.

Posted in Wire Fraud |

Hollister Women Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

Briana Irene Roy, 38, of Hollister, California, entered a guilty plea in federal court last week to charges stemming from an employee embezzlement scheme that netted losses of over $200,000.  Roy pleaded guilty to a single count of federal wire fraud and agreed to pay restitution for the full amount of the loss.  She has been released on bail which was previously set at $50,000.

Roy worked for the marketing division of a San Jose based engineering firm where she implemented a scheme to use a company issued credit card in the name of one of an executive for her personal benefit.  She admitted to using the credit card on approximately 80 occasions between March 2010 and February 2013 to make charges to her personal PayPal account.  Roy attempted to conceal the scheme by generating fraudulent invoices and receipts for products and services in the name of another San Jose business.  In total she was able to steal more than $247,000 from her employer.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 23, 2014 before Senior United States District Judge D. Lowell Jenson.  The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, plus restitution in the amount of $197,240.95.

Assistant United States Attorney Amie Rooney is prosecuting this case with the assistance of Tracey Andersen. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Secret Service.

Posted in Wire Fraud |

Federal Judge Rejects Plea Agreement in Mail Fraud Case

United States District Court Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen has rejected the plea agreement from a Merrillville man who pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud in connection with an insurance fraud scheme. Judge Van Bokkelen announced at the sentencing hearing that Darian Lyndon Brown’s testimony against himself wasn’t enough to prove the two counts.   “What I need is for Mr. Brown to say, ‘I’m guilty, here’s what I did,’ ” Van Bokkelen said. He also noted that statements made at Brown’s change of plea hearing contradicted statements made in the sealed sentencing report.

As part of the plea deal, federal attorneys had agreed to drop the charges against his wife, Trenice Renae Woodley Brown. However, without the plea agreement in place, the Browns will yet again face trial for one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and seven counts each of mail fraud. The married couple was arrested in March of 2013 on charges that they stole more than $85,000 through false claims filed with home and vehicle insurance companies.

Memorandums filed by both parties show that the couple originally filed legitimate claims for flood damage at their home. At some point the Brown’s padded their existing claims with false information to receive more money.

The charges in this case were filed as a result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Randall Stewart prosecuted the case.

Posted in Mail Fraud |