Belle Chasse Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JOSHUA HOCKLESS, age 29, a resident of Belle Chasse, pled guilty to one count of bank fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans. HOCKLESS faces maximum penalties of up to 30 years imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. Sentencing is currently set for November 17, 2021 before the Honorable Sarah S. Vance.
According to court records, HOCKLESS was an Army Sergeant in the Headquarters Company, 377th Theater Sustainment Command, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse. HOCKLESS had a bank account at the United Services Automobile Association Federal Savings Bank (USAA) and learned that USAA allowed service members to withdraw deposits before the funds formally cleared the issuing bank. Knowing this, HOCKLESS opened bank accounts at third-party banks with minimal funding, made online wire transfers from those banks to USAA, and withdrew the deposits from USAA before it detected that there were insufficient funds in the issuing bank account. HOCKLESS obtained approximately $36,119.47 as a result of these fraudulent transfers between his accounts. HOCKLESS then asked other enlisted personnel to open USAA and third-party bank accounts, and give him their online banking passwords. HOCKLESS used these passwords to make similar fraudulent transfers to their USAA accounts and instructed them when to withdraw the cash to split with HOCKLESS. These transfers resulted in approximately $102,739.74 being fraudulently withdrawn from USAA – approximately half of which ($51,369.57) was received by HOCKLESS.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Army Criminal Investigations Command. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney G. Dall Kammer, Chief of the General Crimes Unit.