Boston - A Stoughton man was arrested and charged in federal court with mail and wire fraud for a scheme involving faxing fraudulent invoices for annual dues purporting to come from legitimate business and trade associations.
Darren Stokes, 41, was indicted on seven counts of wire fraud and eight counts of mail fraud. If convicted, Stokes faces up to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each count.
The indictment alleges that from about 2008 to the present, Stokes engaged in a scheme to defraud in which he caused fraudulent invoices to be sent by fax to entities throughout the country purporting to be from business or trade associations and seeking payment for annual dues or for inclusion in an association directory. In fact, Stokes had no authorization from any such business or trade association to seek or collect such payments. The indictment alleges that faxed invoices were sent to members of associations including the American Dental Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association, the American Trucking Association, the Associated General Contractors of America and the National Hospital Association. It is alleged that Stokes induced hundreds of businesses to send checks to mailing addresses that he controlled.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Kevin Niland, Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.