District Man Accused Of Embezzling $1 Million
From Indonesian Airline and Committing Tax and Mortgage Fraud
-Defendant Indicted on Seven Counts, Including Bank Fraud-
WASHINGTON - Jon C. Cooper, 64, of Washington, D.C., was indicted today by a federal grand jury on charges that he embezzled $1 million from an airline company headquartered in Indonesia, filed a false tax return concealing the embezzled income, and committed mortgage fraud.
The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Cooper initially was indicted in September 2012 by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on charges of conspiracy, first-degree fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. He has pled not guilty to those charges. Today a grand jury returned a superseding indictment with those charges as well as additional allegations, including new counts of bank fraud, making a false statement on a loan application, and aiding or assisting the filing of a false tax return. The superseding indictment also reincorporates a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds obtained through the wire fraud and money laundering scheme.
Among other things, today’s indictment accuses Cooper of using various false pretenses, such as forged letters, to induce the Indonesian airline to make a $1 million security deposit to lease aircraft. As alleged in the indictment, Cooper moved the security deposit into his personal account and spent the funds on various personal expenses, such as credit card and loan debt. The indictment also charges that Cooper failed to report the embezzled funds on his tax return.
If convicted, Cooper faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and financial penalties for bank fraud, as well as additional time and penalties for other counts.
Cooper is to be arraigned on the charges on April 11, 2013.
According to the superseding indictment, in or about December 2006, Cooper and a co-conspirator offered to lease two aircraft to an Indonesian airline company, although Cooper’s company owned no such aircraft. Instead, Cooper induced the Indonesian airline to agree to the deal - and pay a $1 million security deposit - by using a forged letter from an attorney whom Cooper claimed would hold the deposit. Similarly, Cooper allegedly used a forged letter purporting to represent that Cooper’s company had an agreement to buy the aircraft it would lease to the Indonesian airline. As the superseding indictment charges, based on those and other false representations, the Indonesian airline made the $1 million security deposit. But the very day the security deposit was received, Cooper moved it to his personal account. Cooper then spent it on personal expenses, such as his credit card debt and personal loans.
Also, as alleged in today’s indictment, Cooper filed a false tax return for 2006, in which he failed to report as income the funds he had embezzled.
In addition, as alleged in the superseding indictment, Cooper used part of the stolen money to pay a home mortgage loan he obtained by fraud, and which Cooper’s income otherwise could not support. Specifically, the indictment charges, in or about May 2006, Cooper falsely over-represented his income to obtain a $780,000 cash-out mortgage loan. As the indictment alleges, by later that year (just before the embezzlement), Cooper was receiving notices of default on this and other debt.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Washington Field Office of IRS-CI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.