Partners Plead Guilty to Embezzling over $1 Million From Laurel Construction Company
Stolen Funds Used to Buy an Interest in a Restaurant and the Baltimore Mariners Football Team
Greenbelt, Maryland - Dwayne Wells, age 50, of Potomac, Maryland, and Charles K. Fash, age 52, of Rockville, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to embezzle over $1 million from a mechanical engineering firm in which they were part-owners.
The guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to their plea agreements, in 2006 Wells, Fash and another individual purchased a mechanical engineering firm called Ryco Associates, based in Laurel, Maryland. Although the other individual had provided the cash funding for the purchase of the company, Wells and Fash ran the company on a daily basis. In 2008, Wells and Fash began loaning Ryco funds to the owner of “The Nest,” a sports bar/restaurant in Baltimore, without the knowledge or approval of their Ryco partner. When the bar’s owner began repaying the loan, Wells and Fash kept the proceeds rather than putting them back into Ryco’s accounts. Wells and Fash loaned additional Ryco funds to the bar owner. When the sports bar owner could no longer pay back the loan, Wells and Fash agreed to become part-owners of the sports bar in lieu of repayment of the loan from Ryco.
Wells and Fash admitted that they also incurred thousands of dollars in expenses for the Baltimore Mariners, a professional indoor football team, on their company issued credit cards and fraudulently used Ryco funds to pay those expenses. Wells and Fash later acquired an equity interest in the Baltimore Mariners using Ryco funds. Their Ryco partner had no knowledge of and had not approved the use of company funds to purchase the sports team. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses Wells incurred on his Ryco-issued credit card, Wells fraudulently authorized over $1 million in payments using Ryco funds for personal purposes, including the sports bar and football team.
The total amount embezzled as a result of the fraud scheme was between $1 million and $2.5 million. As part of their plea agreements, Wells and Fash are required to pay restitution and to liquidate their interests in “The Nest” restaurant and the Baltimore Mariners football team.
Wells and Fash face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for Wells on January 3, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. and for Fash on December 3, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their work on this investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan C. Su, who is prosecuting the case.