Chicago Woman Sentenced for Role in Airplane Loan Scam
BOSTON – A Chicago woman was sentenced today in federal court in Worcester for her role in a fraudulent airplane loan scheme.
Latoya Monique James, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to time served (approximately one week) and three years of supervised release, with the first year to be served in home confinement. In March 2017, James pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. James and two co-conspirators, Ryan Miller and Dusten James Miller, were indicted in June 2016.
From March 2013 through March 2016, the Miller brothers engaged in a scheme to defraud banks by obtaining loans purportedly to finance the purchase of recreational airplanes. Using stolen identities, the brothers posed as both the buyers and the sellers of airplanes; they submitted fraudulent loan applications to the banks and provided the banks with false and fraudulent documents in support of those applications, including false tax returns, bank statements, driver’s licenses, and Social Security cards.
Once the loans were approved, the brothers arranged for the loan documents to be sent either electronically to an email address they created or to a physical address they rented. The Millers signed and notarized the loan documents—either using fake licenses as identification or forged notary stamps. The brothers instructed the banks to wire the funds to bank accounts opened at various banks in the name of fraudulent companies that the brothers had incorporated. Once the funds were wired to those accounts, the brothers quickly withdrew the stolen funds, and used those funds, in part, to rent high-end residences in the United States and Dominican Republic and to purchase expensive vehicles, jewelry and other luxury items.
James was engaged in a relationship with Dusten James Miller throughout much of the relevant period. James participated in the conspiracies to defraud the banks and launder the stolen funds by impersonating an individual whose identity had been stolen, by opening multiple bank accounts into which the stolen funds were wired, and by contacting banks to inquire about financing and/or the loan application process.
In February 2018, a federal jury convicted the Miller brothers of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft. Ryan Miller was also convicted of one count of bank fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft. In June 2018, Ryan Miller was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Dusten James Miller was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Thomas J. Ullom, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Regional Office, U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karin M. Bell and Greg A. Friedholm of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office prosecuted the case.