Former Charles County Attorney Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Clients and Lenders
Losses Totaled Between $1 Million and $2.5 Million
Greenbelt, Maryland - Frank P. Jenkins II, age 45, of LaPlata, Maryland, pleaded guilty on Friday, November 12, 2010, to wire fraud and mail fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud clients of his law practice and lenders in real estate transactions.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Charles County Sheriff Rex W. Coffey and Charles County State’s Attorney Leonard C. Collins, Jr.
According to the plea agreement, prior to September 15, 2009, Jenkins was an attorney licensed to practice law in Maryland and did business as Frank P. Jenkins, PC. Jenkins also utilized the business names The Jenkins Group, Inc., Jenkins Real Estate, Inc. and Exit Prom Homes Realty. On September 15, 2009, Jenkins was disbarred.
Jenkins admitted that from about 2006 through 2009, he caused clients to transfer money into bank accounts that he controlled, then embezzled the funds for his own purposes, rather than fulfilling his fiduciary obligations to his clients. Jenkins admitted that he used the stolen money to pay his personal expenses, purchase tickets to the Washington Capitals hockey games and to repay other clients whom he had previously defrauded. According to the plea agreement, Jenkins also made false statements to his clients as to his handling of estates and civil litigation and to lenders. Jenkins also provided his clients with fraudulent documents, including deeds and deeds of trust relating to property. Jenkins admitted that he forged the signatures of his clients, including on a consent decree requiring the clients to pay $150,000 to settle a breach of contract suit.
In June 2009, Jenkins applied for a loan to refinance a property that he fraudulently told the lender he had purchased. In fact, Jenkins had entered into a contract to purchase the property, misrepresenting to the owners of the property that he would file a deed of trust and promissory note. Jenkins did record the deed showing he had purchased the property, but did not record the deed of trust. Jenkins received a check for $128,654.19 from the lender based on the fraudulent loan application. The deed Jenkins filed was subsequently rescinded and restored to the original owners, who were also awarded $150,000 each in compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees, by the Circuit Court for St. Mary’s County.
Jenkins admitted that he was responsible for over $1 million in losses to his clients and lenders.
Jenkins faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the eight counts of mail and wire fraud. Chief U.S. District Judge Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for February 28, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Stuart A. Berman and Deborah A. Johnston, who are prosecuting the case.