BALTIMORE—William Allen Darden, age 44, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain over $1.399 million from a Baltimore Housing Authority (BHA) bank account in just a few months.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to his guilty plea, in early 2010 Darden agreed to participate in a scheme to use the identity of co-defendant Keith Daughtry to open a bank account into which funds stolen from the BHA would be illegally diverted. On May 19, 2010, Darden used Daughtry’s identity to obtain a fraudulent driver’s license in Daughtry’s name, but bearing Darden’s photograph. The conspirators had this fraudulent driver’s license made with Darden’s photo so that if law enforcement were to track down Daughtry through the fraudulent license’s use, Daughtry could claim that his identity had been stolen.
On May 25, 2010, Darden used the fraudulent driver’s license to open a bank account for an entity called Keith Daughtry Contracting LLC. Shortly thereafter, substantial amounts of funds illegally diverted by Darden’s conspirators from a BHA bank account were electronically transferred into the Daughtry LLC bank account. These transfers were unlawful because Daughtry LLC had never provided any services to the BHA requiring compensation. Investigators have determined that the conspirators were responsible for transferring at least $1,399,700 stolen from BHA’s account into Daughtry LLC’s account between July and September 2010.
The conspirators then drained these stolen funds from the Daughtry LLC account by initiating electronic transfers from that account onto debit cards in other individuals’ names, at least one of whose identity had been stolen; through electronic transfers into accounts at other banks; and through in-person cash withdrawals from Daughtry LLC bank accounts and from automated teller machines in the Washington, D.C. area.
Darden himself withdrew $9,500 from the fraudulent Daughtry LLC account in July and August 2010, using the fraudulent driver’s license bearing his photo. Darden also acted as a lookout on at least 11 occasions when Daughtry withdrew a total of $38,550 from the Daughtry LLC account and handed the cash over to Darden, who then passed it along to another conspirator. Moreover, on August 26, 2010, Darden caused a cashier’s check to be produced amounting to $20,000 that was drawn off of the fraudulent Daughtry LLC account, which Darden deposited into his personal bank account.
Darden admits that he is responsible for over $1 million in losses as a result of his participation in the conspiracy.
As part of his plea agreement, Darden has agreed to the entry of an order to pay restitution of, and to forfeit, at least $1,399,700.
Darden faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. scheduled his sentencing for May 23, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
Keith Eugene Daughtry, age 50, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty on February 8, 2012 to his participation in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 22, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the FBI for its work in the investigation and praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Sujit Raman, who is prosecuting the case.