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Friday, January 27, 2017
Scam Using Fake Companies and False Documentation to Defraud Car Dealers and Lenders
Leader and Two Co-Conspirators Admit to Their Roles in Six Year Scam Using Fake Companies and False Documentation to Defraud Car Dealers and Lenders
Created Shell Companies, Submitted False Documents, Including Bank Account Statements, Tax Documents, Pay Stubs, and Car Titles in Loan Applications to Purchase Vehicles and Launder Money
Baltimore,Maryland – Sean Stanley Jackson, age 44, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and money laundering charges as the leader of a scheme to defraud auto dealers and lenders in Anne Arundel, Howard, Baltimore and Montgomery counties. Co-defendants Erika Patrice Ryles, age 35, of Baltimore; and Walter Jermaine Perry, III, age 39, of Owings Mills previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Chief Terrence B. Sheridan of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to their plea agreements, from January 2010 to February 2016, Jackson, Ryles, and Perry conspired to make false representations on loan applications to lenders in order to obtain loans to purchase vehicles from dealers, for which they were not financially qualified. Jackson and his co-conspirators organized and registered shell entities, including The Black Group LLC, which they used to make false representations in loan applications. For example, the conspirators falsely represented that The Black Group was a legitimate, thriving business with millions of dollars in annual revenues. To support their false representations, the defendants created fake documents, including paystubs, bank account statements, utility bills and corporate tax returns and schedules for the shell entities, which they submitted with auto loan applications, and to banks and other lenders.
Jackson admitted that on December 5, 2013, he sent a message to Ryles asking her to create a fake bank account statement showing specific deposits and balance, which she did. Jackson and another co-conspirator, who was an elderly family member, then used the fraudulent bank statement to apply for loans on behalf of The Black Group on two different 2014 Ford F450 trucks, a Chevrolet Express Van, and a 2009 Audi A8. After obtaining more than $246,349 to purchase the four vehicles, Jackson and the co-conspirator defaulted on the loans, causing losses to the lender. In June 2014, Ryles again prepared false bank statements at Jackson’s request. Jackson and the co-conspirator then used the false bank statement in support of a loan application to purchase a 2006 5900i International Dump Truck. After receiving the financing to purchase the dump truck, Jackson and the co-conspirator again defaulted on the loan, causing a loss to the lender.
Jackson also used The Black Group to launder proceeds he obtained from the sale of a 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche. On May 10, 2012, Jackson submitted a false loan application and obtained $63,067.38, to finance the purchase of a 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche. After a few months, Jackson stopped making payments on the loan and the lender attempted to repossess the vehicle, but was unsuccessful since Jackson did not live at the address he provided on the loan application. Jackson continued using the vehicle. On November 29, 2014, Jackson went to a title shop in Maryland and presented a Mississippi title for the Avalanche which reflected that the vehicle had been sold to The Black Group on November 24, 2014, by the original owner, Thomas Mack, and that the vehicle did not have any outstanding liens. In order to conceal the true ownership of the vehicle, Jackson used the Mississippi title to obtain a Maryland MVA title on the Avalanche in the name of The Black Group. On December 15, 2014, Jackson, acting as a representative of The Black Group, sold the Avalanche to a car dealership in Maryland for $34,000, receiving a check in that amount made payable to The Black Group.
The next day, Jackson directed Perry to open two bank accounts representing that Perry owned a company called “Black Group,” and had Perry deposit the check from the sale of the Avalanche into one of those accounts. On December 18, 2014, at Jackson’s direction, Perry use the funds in that account to purchase three cashiers’ checks totaling $23,000, each made payable to Jackson. In addition, Perry withdrew $8,000 in cash and gave the money to Jackson. On January 9, 2015, Jackson had Perry purchase the Avalanche from the dealership where he’d sold it. At Jackson’s direction, Perry applied for a loan to purchase the vehicle, falsely stating that he was president of the Black Group LLC. Jackson provided Perry with two fake pay stubs, which Perry used as part of his loan application.
As a result of his conduct, Jackson caused a loss of at least $250,000 to lenders and car dealers. As part of their plea agreements, Jackson, Ryles and Perry are required to pay restitution in the full amount of the loss, which will be determined by the Court.
Jackson and Ryles each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy. Jackson and Perry face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for money laundering. Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled sentencing for Jackson on April 28, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.
Today’s announcement is part of the efforts undertaken in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visitwww.StopFraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS - Criminal Investigation and Baltimore County and City Police Departments for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phil Selden and Dana J. Brusca, who are prosecuting the case.