Sacramento Man Indicted for Falsely Claiming to Be an Attorney and Defrauding Couple of over $500,000
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment on last Thursday against Derek Bluford, 30, of Sacramento, charging him with wire fraud and money laundering, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Bluford allegedly told a couple that he was an attorney and could represent them in a dispute they were having with their tenant. After the couple agreed, Bluford then told them that they had incurred numerous fines and court costs, as well as costs to repair their rental unit; he also told them he had negotiated a settlement agreement with the couple’s former tenant. Based on these representations, the couple paid Bluford at least $535,000. According to the allegations in the indictment, Bluford, in fact, was not an attorney and there were no fines or court costs imposed. Bluford then allegedly laundered the proceeds from his scheme.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd A. Pickles is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Bluford faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, 10 years in prison on the money laundering counts, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross loss or gross gain. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.