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Justice News

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

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Newark Man Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud And Money Laundering

WILMINGTON, Del. – Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced today that Akeem Harris, age 26, of Newark, Delaware pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of money laundering before U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson  in connection with the theft of more than $450,000.  Harris is scheduled to be sentenced on September 13, 2016.

According to court records and statements made in open court, in or around May 2015, using the business name of Wolf Distribution, Harris opened a bank account and subsequently deposited an altered check in the amount of approximately $439,000.00, written from the account of a New York-based health services provider.  In the two weeks following the deposit of that altered check, Harris conducted a series of cash withdrawals and obtained bank checks, made payable to himself as well as other individuals and entities associated with him.  In January 2015, Harris also received a fraudulent wire transfer in the amount of $40,000 from the account of a community development investment foundation based in Maryland.  Using the proceeds of that fraudulent wire transfer, Harris then purchased an official bank check and otherwise depleted those funds through a series of cash withdrawals.  Harris also agreed to the forfeiture of approximately $33,000.00, which the government anticipates will be returned to the victims of his crimes.

The maximum sentence for bank fraud is up to 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release and a fine of $1,000,000.  The maximum sentence for money laundering is up to 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Oberly stated, “Mr. Harris’s actions compromise both the integrity of financial institutions and the soundness of the organizations that rely upon them.  His willingness to participate in a variety of schemes shows a callous disregard for the law.”

“Money laundering is tax evasion in progress. It is fuel for criminals to conduct their criminal affairs and is used to manipulate and erode our financial systems," said Akeia Conner, Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf.

Financial Fraud
Updated June 8, 2016