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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Michigan Man Convicted Of Fraud And Aggravated identity Theft For Using Fake Charitable Organizations

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that on July 27, 2015, a   Michigan man was convicted by a jury of making numerous false statements, identity theft, and engaging in a scheme to operate fake charitable organizations. 

Alan Michael Bartlett, 46, from Owosso, Michigan, was found guilty of two counts of mail fraud, 20 counts of bank fraud, five counts of wire fraud, five counts of false statements to the United States Postal Service, and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

Bartlett was tried before Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline, in Anchorage, Alaska.

The evidence presented at trial proved that Bartlett had established two businesses, United States Disabled Veterans, LLC, and United States Handicapped-Disadvantaged Services, LLC, whose alleged mission was “to help provide real jobs for disabled & disadvantaged Americans.”  The companies claimed to sell products for donations, the orders for which would “provide jobs for the handicapped.”  There were no “jobs,” and the donations received did not go to veterans or the disabled and disadvantaged.  Instead, these companies were used by Bartlett between July 2011 and January 2012, in a scheme to defraud individuals and a financial institution in Alaska, and obtain additional monies belonging to individual donors.

The evidence at trial further showed that Bartlett solicited donations through telemarketing calls and through the mailing of brochures from his companies.  Upon the receipt of small donations by check, Bartlett created counterfeit demand drafts using information printed on the solicited checks, including the financial institution name, financial institution routing number, and associated customer account number.  He then negotiated the counterfeit demand drafts via fraudulent electronic payment transactions for his personal financial gain and benefit - investing in his E*Trade accounts, paying credit card bills, paying for Verizon Wireless telephone service, and paying on his defaulted student loan with the United States Department of Education.  He also submitted forged power of attorney forms with falsified notary seals to the financial institution in an effort to get transactions that had been reversed by the financial institution for fraud, credited back to him.

Bartlett used personal identifying information obtained from people who sent donations thinking they were giving to charitable organizations, to submit false change of address requests to the United States Postal Service.  He forged the signatures on the change of address requests and listed the street address of his residence in Owosso, MI, as the forwarding address.  As a result, he received investment and financial information which should have gone directly to donors/victims.

Using the fabricated persona of a municipal law enforcement detective, Bartlett contacted one victim by telephone to dissuade the victim from reporting or providing additional information about Bartlett’s scheme to law enforcement.

Bartlett learned about the telemarketing business and obtained donor call lists when employed by telemarketing companies in Arizona in 2008; those companies were shut down in 2009 by the Federal Trade Commission for making false representations that that they were charities and that donations/purchases would go to help handicapped or disabled people.

Sentencing has been scheduled for October 19, 2015.  The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 30 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 on the fraud and false statement charges.  The crime of aggravated identity theft requires a mandatory consecutive two year sentence upon each count of conviction, and a fine of $250,000.  Under the federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Ms. Loeffler commends the United States Postal Inspection Service for the investigation of this case.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated July 29, 2015