News and Press Releases

Norfolk Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Credit Union Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2011

NORFOLK, Va. – Darnell M. Barnwell, 25, of Norfolk, Va., pleaded guilty today in Norfolk federal court to conspiring to defraud the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) and to committing credit union fraud.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Barnwell entered a guilty plea before Senior United States District Judge Robert G. Doumar.  Barnwell faces a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison and a fine of $2,000,000.00 when he is sentenced on June 6, 2011.

            According to court documents, Barnwell conspired with Christopher Moore, who previously pled guilty and is also awaiting sentencing, to steal monies from NFCU by fraudulent means.  As part of the conspiracy, Moore obtained identity and account information about persons with accounts at NFCU during 2009 and 2010.  Moore and other conspirators then impersonated the identity theft victims and applied by telephone and online for loans in the victims’ names.  The conspirators falsely represented to NFCU that the identity theft victims would be using the loan proceeds to buy a used car or motorcycle.  After NFCU approved the loans and sent out checks made out to the alleged seller of the vehicle and the identity theft victim, Moore and others intercepted the checks and forged the identity theft victims’ signatures to the checks.

            Barnwell recruited third parties to help cash the checks.  Barnwell and Moore then met and drove these recruits to NFCU to oversee the negotiation of the checks.  After receiving the fraudulent loan proceeds, Barnwell and Moore gave a small sum of cash to the check cashing recruits and kept most of the proceeds for themselves and other conspirators.  From early 2009 through June 2010, the conspirators attempted to cash NFCU loan checks worth approximately $460,000.

            This case was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Secret Service, and the Norfolk and Newport News Police Departments.  Assistant United States Attorney Robert Krask is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

            A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

 

 

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