News and Press Releases

Two Individuals Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud in Matching Funds Scheme

July 14, 2011

WASHINGTON – Stephen Bekale and Jamal Ibraheem pleaded guilty today in U.S.  District Court in Alexandria, Va., to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Director in Charge James W. McJunkin of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.    

            According to the indictment and information presented in court, Bekale, 31, of Indianapolis, fraudulently obtained matching funds from Bank of America’s charitable arm after he falsely certified that charitable contributions had been made to his nonprofit organization, “Hoops for Africa,” by Bank of America employees.  His co-defendant, Jamal Ibraheem, 38, of Bethesda, Md., is a former Bank of America employee who admitted that he falsely certified donations made in his name and that he recruited additional bank employees to participate in Bekale’s fraud scheme.

            According to the indictment, from approximately March 2007 through May 2009, approximately 31 bank employees, located at three different banking locations, logged onto Bank of America’s website for its Matching Gifts Program and certified that they donated money to “Hoops for Africa.”  The fraudulent employee donations to “Hoops for Africa” ranged from $1,300 to $7,500 per donation, and a total of 57 matching gift requests were received by Bank of America’s charitable arm.  As a result of those falsely registered donations, Bank of America eventually processed 55 of the transactions and disbursed through its charitable foundation a total of approximately $276,600 in matching gifts to “Hoops for Africa.”

            The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  Sentencing for both defendants has been scheduled for Sept. 30, 2011, at 9:00 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. 

            Bekale and Ibraheem were charged in a 10-count indictment unsealed on April 5, 2011, along with three other defendants against whom charges are still pending.

            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark D. Lytle of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Eric L. Gibson of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.  The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.            



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