TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Maryland man was sentenced to prison today for stealing a $469,364 check from a Georgia corporation and depositing it into the bank account of a shell company he created in New Jersey with the same name. He then ran the funds through multiple shell companies before withdrawing them as cashier’s checks and cash.
Darrell Williams, 58, of Suitland, Maryland, was sentenced today to eight years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Kevin T. Smith in Gloucester County. Williams pleaded guilty on Sept. 10, 2018 to second-degree theft by deception. He was ordered to pay $200,419 in restitution, representing the balance of the funds drawn against the stolen check by Williams that were not previously recovered.
Deputy Attorney General Derek Miller prosecuted the case and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Williams was indicted in an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The investigation was conducted by Detective James Gallo and Analyst Rita Gillis of the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, and Postal Inspector Brian Macdonald of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Wells Fargo Bank also provided assistance.
“Identity theft is a multi-billion dollar problem for consumers and commerce,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have sent a message in this case that criminals who steal in this manner will face significant prison sentences.”
“Our attorneys and investigative team secured this prison sentence by skillfully following the money trail in this case, which combined mail theft, bank fraud, and identity theft,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “I thank the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Newark Division, under the direction of Inspector In Charge James Buthorn, for their valuable assistance in this case.”
Williams obtained a $469,364 check that was payable to a company based in Atlanta, Ga. The check was mailed to the company but was intercepted before the company received it. The investigation revealed that Williams created a corporate entity in New Jersey with the same name, opened a bank account for the company, and deposited the check into that account, which he controlled. Williams used a stolen identity and a fictitious driver’s license to open the account. He transferred $232,921 of the stolen funds to two other shell company accounts he controlled. The funds were then sent to five other shell companies, before eventually being withdrawn as cash or cashier’s checks in amounts of $5,000 to $6,000. Williams used a second false identity as signatory for the bank account of one of those shell companies, again presenting a false driver’s license. The original check was issued from a Wells Fargo bank account, and after learning the real payee never received it, Wells Fargo blocked a third wire transfer for $105,702 that Williams attempted to make from the fraudulent payee account he opened. Wells Fargo alerted U.S. Postal officials the check had been intercepted, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice.
Howard C. Gilfert, Esq., Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., Turnersville, N.J.