Fourth Defendant in D.C. Property Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Pleads Guilty
Richard Walters Deposited $4,900,199 in Fraudulent District of Columbia Checks
and Received At Least $1,284,574 in Monies and Home Improvements
Greenbelt, Maryland - Richard Walters, age 49, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to receipt of stolen property and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a property tax refund scheme in which millions of dollars were stolen from the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey A. Taylor. As part of his plea agreement, Richard Walters agreed to forfeit $4,900,199 and, in order to satisfy such money judgment, to forfeit a home in the Virgin Islands, two homes in Bowie, Maryland, a 2005 Bentley, four other vehicles, jewelry and monies held in several bank accounts.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “We will seek the forfeiture of all criminal proceeds and property purchased with stolen money because victims deserve restitution and criminals must not be permitted to profit from their crimes. Richard Walters’ conviction is an important step in our ongoing effort to see to it that justice is done. We will not relent in this investigation until every co-conspirator is held accountable.”
Special Agent in Charge C. Andre Martin, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, stated, "Money laundering is tax evasion in progress. The IRS-Criminal Investigation Division with the law enforcement community are united in our resolve to financially disrupt criminal organizations that commit crimes against our society and economy."
According to the plea agreement, Richard Walters owned and operated a plumbing business called “Helmet’s Plumbing.” From March 2001 to May 2007, Richard Walters, and on occasion, a co-conspirator (Conspirator #1) with Richard Walters’ knowledge, deposited 15 District of Columbia government checks totaling $4,900,199 into a bank account Richard Walters maintained for his plumbing business. Richard Walters knew that the checks had been obtained by fraud as part of a scheme to embezzle funds from the District of Columbia government. The individual checks ranged in amounts from approximately $95,148 to $541,100.
On many occasions, Conspirator #1 directed Richard Walters to take the checks to a bank and have Walter Jones, a bank manager, deposit them into the Helmet account. In addition, on several occasions, Richard Walters deposited a fraudulent District of Columbia check and immediately thereafter directed Walter Jones to prepare cashier’s checks to recipients of Walters’ choosing.
From July 2001 to November 2007, Richard Walters and Conspirator #1 distributed funds from the Helmet account, including at least: 46 transactions directing $1,059,307.50 to accounts controlled by Richard Walters; 14 transactions directing $225,266.87 towards projects for a home that Richard Walters was building in the U.S. Virgin Islands; 11 transactions directing $461,000 to Conspirator #1; $47,149 to the Washington Wizards to purchase season tickets; $40,000 to Neiman Marcus; and $18,100 to Saks Fifth Avenue for purchases. Richard Walters also purchased a 2005 Bentley automobile with proceeds of the fraud.
Richard Walters faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for receipt of stolen property and 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the transactions involved, whichever is greater, for conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for September 8, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
Walter Jones, age 33, of Essex, Maryland, pleaded guilty on May 21, 2008 and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the transactions involved, whichever is greater, for conspiracy to commit money laundering. Judge Williams scheduled his sentencing for September 11, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
Marilyn Yoon, age 40, of Derwood, Maryland, also pleaded guilty on May 19, 2008 in connection with the property tax refund scheme. She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possession of property obtained by fraud. Judge Williams scheduled her sentencing for September 12, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
Ricardo R. Walters, age 33, of Ft. Washington, Maryland, pleaded guilty on May 2, 2008 in connection with the property tax refund scheme and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for receipt of stolen property and 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering. Judge Williams scheduled his sentencing for July 23, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorneys Rod J. Rosenstein and Jeffrey A. Taylor thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; the Inspector General’s Office for the District of Columbia; the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, Criminal Investigation Division; the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; and the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Integrity and Oversight for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Su and Deborah Johnston from the District of Maryland and Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Lynch and David Johnson from the District of Columbia, who are prosecuting the case.