News and Press Releases

Two men charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in $2 million advance fee scheme that defrauded 50 people

July 23, 2012

An information was filed charging John H. Keenan and Anzelle D. Whitsett, Sr., with conspiracy and wire fraud for their roles in an advance fee scheme in which approximately 50 people were defrauded out of a total of $2 million, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Keenan, age 51, currently resides in Westlake, Ohio, while Whitsett, age 38, currently resides in Parma, Ohio, according to court records.

The information alleges that between 2007 through 2011, the defendants created and operated a variety of entities purported to be in the business of making business loans or providing capital to businesses. Using assumed names, the defendants would respond to inquiries by potential customers and offered the ability to provide the customer with the loans they desired.

As part of the scheme, the defendant created various documents, including letters of commitment, which made it appear that the defendants were legitimately offering to provide a loan under the terms and conditions specified in the documents. As a further part of the scheme, the defendants requested that the customer pay to the defendants a fee in advance of the loan for the alleged purpose of paying for various costs of obtaining the loan, according to the information.

The defendants never obtained a loan for any customers, according to the information.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, their role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vasile C. Katsaros, following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The Defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


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