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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Friday, June 9, 2017

Alexandria Man Sentenced for Fraud and Gun-Related Crimes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Alexandria man who defrauded investors, renters, and a bank, and who attempted to illegally acquire a firearm, was sentenced today to 8 years in prison.

Donald Omar Fazel, a.k.a. Rodney Dickerson, 50, pleaded guilty to a 4-count criminal information on January 25, 2017. According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Fazel carried out an investment fraud scheme in which he solicited individuals to invest in a purported technology company called Microsystems Technology USA (“MST”). Fazel eventually obtained over $700,000 from his blue-collar working victims for general investment in MST, as well as for specific technology projects that MST was allegedly developing for foreign and domestic government agencies. In truth, MST never had any assets or operations and never actually developed any technology. Fazel expended the investors’ money on a combination of retail debit purchases, cash withdrawals, and payment of “returns” back to investors. Fazel also carried out a rental fraud scheme, in which he rented and then immediately re-listed three different properties using an assumed identity. When prospective renters responded to his listings, Fazel required them to pay a cash deposit up front in order to secure the lease. On the appointed move-in dates, the victims and their families arrived at the properties only to discover that none of them could access the properties or contact Fazel. Fazel further deposited a fraudulent check for $45,000 at SunTrust Bank, which was drawn on a non-existent account. Finally, Fazel attempted to purchase a firearm at a licensed gun shop in Woodbridge. In connection with the attempted purchase, Fazel falsely certified under penalty of perjury on federal and state application forms that he had never been convicted of a felony offense, when in fact he had five prior felony convictions.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Superintendent of Virginia State Police; and Chief Humberto I. Cardounel, Jr., Henrico County Police Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Grace L. Hill and Jack Hanly prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:17-cr-4.

Firearms Offenses
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications
Updated June 9, 2017