District Man Indicted In $3 Million Embezzlement Scheme-Defendant Allegedly Used Money For A House, Trips, Other Expenses-
WASHINGTON - Howard E. Person, Jr., 35, of Washington, D.C., has been indicted for mail fraud and other federal offenses stemming from a $3 million embezzlement scheme in which he is accused of illegally obtaining and using his employer’s money for the purchase of a house, trips to Las Vegas and other locations, and other personal expenses.
The indictment, which was unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Kathy A. Michalko, Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office, U.S. Secret Service.
Person was named in the 12-count indictment on July 30, 2013, charging him with mail fraud, access device fraud, interstate transportation of money taken by fraud, monetary transactions, and first-degree theft. The indictment also includes forfeiture allegations seeking all proceeds traceable to the scheme. Person pled not guilty to the charges today.
According to the indictment, Person had been the finance director of a small, locally owned company. The indictment alleges that from March 2008 to September 2011 he arranged to divert money from his employer’s bank account to another bank account which he exclusively controlled in order to embezzle money from the company.
The indictment alleges that Person opened this other, secret, bank account without the knowledge and permission of the owner. He also allegedly used false financial statements to conceal his theft from the owner. According to the indictment, Person caused the company’s clients to pay the secret account instead of the authorized account $6 million in money due and owing to the company. The indictment charges that Person then used about $3 million to keep the company afloat, and the other $3 million to pay his personal expenses, including purchasing his home in the 500 block of Florida Avenue NE, in an amount in excess of $340,000; paying for trips to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, the Dominican Republic, and Hawaii; transferring money into his personal bank account and into his side-line business account; funding parties and shows, and withdrawing over $55,000 in cash from ATMs and over $35,000 in debit card purchases at casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Machen, Chief Lanier, and Special Agent in Charge Michalko expressed appreciation for the work performed by MPD detectives from the criminal investigation division - financial crimes section as well as by the Special Agents and financial analysts from the U.S. Secret Service. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who are working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Criminal Investigator Juan Juarez, Paralegal Specialist Donna Galindo, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Kavanaugh and Anthony Saler, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Chris Dobbie, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham, who is prosecuting the case.