men indicted on fraud, identity theft, and conspiracy charges
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury in Buffalo has returned a 68-count indictment charging Brian Smith, 40, of Buffalo, N.Y., with defrauding various individuals, companies, and financial institutions, resulting in a total financial loss of over $1,000,000. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000 or both. Brian Smith is also charged with aggravated identity theft, which carries a penalty of two years in prison. Kelly Atkinson, 30, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, was also indicted on 13 counts, related to his role in some of the schemes to defraud.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O'Donnell, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment, Smith caused fraudulent loan applications and supporting documentation to be submitted to banks, credit unions, peer to peer lenders, and other business entities. In addition, Smith is accused of defrauding individuals out of funds under the guise of investing their money in real estate, when, in fact, he personally spent the money and did not purchase real estate. The indictment also charges Smith with using stolen identifying information from an individual to open a credit card and to obtain a vehicle.
Defendant Atkinson is charged with causing fraudulent loan applications and supporting documentation to be submitted to a credit union and another business for the purpose of obtaining loans.
The Indictment is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Boetig and Special Agents from the United States Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tracy Gast.The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.