News and Press Releases

Anderson Man Receives 33 Months for Bank Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2014

Contact Person: Bill Watkins (864) 282-2100

Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Bryan A. Willingham, age 33, of Anderson, was sentenced in federal court in Anderson, for his involvement in a scheme to defraud a federally insured bank.  District Judge Timothy M. Cain sentenced Willingham to 33 months in prison and ordered him to pay over $28,000 in restitution.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Willingham and his associates recruited people to open checking accounts at Wachovia/Wells Fargo.  Worthless checks drawn on other banks were then deposited into these accounts.  The check amounts were approximately between $1,100 and $1,600.  The funds would be withdrawn at ATM machines before the bank could discover the fraud.  The individuals opening the accounts would also submit false police reports that they were the victim of identity theft.  Based on an analysis of addresses, names, and telephone numbers associated with the various accounts, bank investigators estimate that 150 accounts were involved with losses totaling approaching $100,000. 

The case was investigated by agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.

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