News and Press Releases

Jury Finds Oakland Man Guilty Of $3.3 Million Fraud Scheme

December 19, 2012

OAKLAND, Calif. – Keith Aaron Vann, 42, of Oakland was convicted by a federal jury Monday of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, wire fraud, and three counts of money laundering, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

The jury found that Vann participated in a scheme to defraud two Arizona elementary school teachers of $3.3 million from their father’s estate by making false representations including, among other things, that Global Missions was a non-profit organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service; that it provided humanitarian aid worldwide, including in Africa; and that donations to Global Missions would be tax deductible. The evidence presented during the trial showed that donations to Global Missions were actually used by Vann and others to pay for personal trips, jewelry, a down payment on a luxury car, and a $1.25 million home.

The guilty verdict followed a four-day jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong. Vann was charged by indictment on April 16, 2008, with Joseph Williams of Hayward, Calif., and William Joe Little Jr., 47, of Auburn, Calif. Little pled guilty on Nov. 20, 2012, to the conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. The charges against Williams were dismissed following his death in 2010.

The sentencing of Vann is scheduled for March 26, 2013, before Judge Armstrong in Oakland. The maximum statutory penalty for the violation of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and the violation of wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. Each of the three money laundering convictions carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Stephen G. Corrigan and Wade M. Rhyne are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Paralegal Noble Hughes, and Legal Assistants Kathleen Turner and Janice Pagsangan. The prosecution is the result of a three year investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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