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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Tuesday - March 23, 2004

RALEIGH - Acting United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced the recent disposition of the following cases in United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina:

JERRY HOWARD SURRATT, JR., was sentenced in Raleigh, N. C., on January 23, 2004, for armed bank robbery and firearm violations. Chief U. S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle imposed a sentence of 272 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release. Also, he ordered SURRATT to pay more than $16,000.00 in restitution.

SURRATT, 29, address unknown, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Greenville on April 9, 2003. He pled guilty on August 25, 2003, to: the November 1, 2002, armed robbery of the Bank of America, located at 5496 Peakway Drive, Apex, N. C.; the November 19, 2002, armed robbery of the Fidelity Bank, located at 12201 Capital Boulevard, Wake Forest, N. C.; and using and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Apex Police Department, and the Wake Forest Police Department. Assistant U. S. Attorney Felice McConnell Corpening handled the case for the government.

DAVID FERRELL McLEAN was sentenced in Wilmington on February 2, 2004, for wire fraud and money laundering. Senior U. S. District Judge James C. Fox imposed a sentence of 84 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Also, he ordered McLEAN to pay $771,124.00 in restitution.

McLEAN, 33, of 5137 Nicholas Creek, Wilmington, N. C., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Wilmington on May 28, 2003. He pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on September 2, 2003.

According to evidence presented in court: Beginning in August, 2001, McLEAN defrauded his employer, Merrill Lynch, Inc., an investment corporation, by taking funds from clients' accounts, putting them into a fake account that he had created, and then spending the money. Evidence showed that he attempted to take $1.3 million, but actually got approximately $845,747.62. McLEAN worked in Merrill Lynch's Wilmington Office as a financial account advisor. The fraud was discovered as a result of a complaint from a client's son about irregularities in his mother's account (one of the accounts from which McLEAN took money) and stricter monitoring procedures that were put into place by Merrill Lynch. Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service. Assistant U. S. Attorney Jennifer May-Parker handled the case for the government.

RONNELL LAKEEM McNAIR, 28, of Greenville, N. C., was sentenced in Greenville on February 3, 2004. He had pled guilty on September 2, 2003, to an indictment charging him with possession of a firearm after he had been convicted previously of a felony.

U. S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced McNAIR to 180 months imprisonment and a fine of $7,500.00.

According to evidence presented in court: Beginning in 1992,McNAIR had amassed six prior convictions for felony breaking and entering, as well as convictions for burglary, felony larceny, financial card theft, and a state conviction for felon in possession of a firearm, all in Pitt County. He was sentenced pursuant to the federal Armed Career Criminal Act, which required the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

McNAIR was arrested by Greenville Police officers following a traffic stop on August 29, 2002. At that time, he was in possession of a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Greenville on January 8, 2003.

This case is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Greenville Police Department. Assistant U. S. Attorney John H. Bennett of the Greenville branch office handled the case for the government.

DONALD SCOTT BENSON, 34, of Pine Level, N. C., was sentenced in Raleigh, on February 26, 2004. He had pled guilty on May 14, 2003 to a five-count criminal information.

Chief U. S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced BENSON to 15 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Also, he ordered BENSON to pay $158,911.21 in restitution.

According to the criminal information filed by the United States Attorney's Office and evidence presented in court, BENSON defrauded the Workers' Compensation Program, U. S. Department of Labor; the Social Security Administration; the Veterans Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs; the Rural Housing Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture; and the Department of Social Services, U. S. Department of Agriculture--by claiming injuries to his back, receiving benefits from these various sources, and not disclosing his benefit awards.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U. S. Attorney Jennifer May-Parker handled the case for the government.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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