Former Baltimore Accountant Wilkins McNair Indicted in Scheme to Steal $900,000 from a Client
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury indicted Wilkins McNair, age 51, formerly of Ellicott City, today for wire fraud and witness tampering in connection with a scheme to defraud a client of $900,000, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the 22 count indictment, McNair was a certified public accountant, and owned and operated an accounting firm known at different times as Wilkins McNair, CPA, P.C.; Wilkins McNair LLC; or The Accounting Offices of Wilkins McNair, LLC. The firm initially had offices at 201 North Charles Street in Baltimore and later operated out of McNair’s residence in Ellicott City.
According to the indictment, on January 24, 2006, a widow retained McNair to represent her and her husband’s estate, since she had no business, financial or real estate experience. From January 30, 2006 to March 7, 2006, the widow transferred $367,546.32 she had previously received from life insurance payments and as proceeds of a real estate closing to McNair. McNair advised the widow that he would establish a trust fund with the money and she could draw upon the trust when she needed money to pay for family expenses. The indictment alleges that McNair further persuaded the widow to refinance her residence to take out a mortgage of $576,000 and a second mortgage of $72,000, advising the widow that he would use the proceeds to make the payments on those loans. McNair received the proceeds of $552,764.67 from these transactions, after he told the widow that he would deposit them into a bank account to be held and managed for her. Finally, McNair received the proceeds from the sale of assets belonging to the estate of the widow’s late husband, totaling approximately $114,601.
As alleged in the indictment, McNair deposited all of the funds into accounts which he controlled and used the money to pay salary and other expenses at his accounting firm, for the financial support of a woman with whom he was romantically involved, to pay some of his legal expenses for a then-pending criminal case, and for other personal expenses. According to the indictment, on several occasions, including as late as April 23, 2007, McNair provided the widow with purported statements of her account showing that he was holding the funds for her, but despite subsequent demands from the widow and her attorney, McNair failed to return or further account for any of the funds he received from the widow or her husband’s estate.
The indictment further alleges that McNair misled the widow in connection with federal criminal fraud charges he was facing at the time, by providing her with false assurances of his innocence and fraudulent account statements as to the status of her funds, in an effort to prevent her from testifying in the grand jury and to prevent information relating to his alleged fraud against the widow from being communicated to law enforcement in connection with his pending sentencing in the other case.
Finally, the indictment seeks the forfeiture of approximately $900,000, which are the alleged proceeds of the scheme.
McNair faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of 21 counts of wire fraud and a maximum of 20 years in prison for witness tampering. No court appearance has been scheduled.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Jefferson M. Gray and Jonathan Biran, who are prosecuting the case.