Raynham Man Sentenced for National Fraudulent Invoicing Scheme
BOSTON – A Raynham man was sentenced today for engaging in a fraud scheme involving the creation of phony invoices for annual dues that purported to come from legitimate business and trade associations.
Darren Stokes, 43, of Raynham, Mass., was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to four years in prison, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,170 in restitution. In November 2014, Stokes pleaded guilty to eight counts of wire fraud and seven counts of mail fraud.
From 2008 to 2012, Stokes caused tens of thousands of fraudulent invoices to be faxed to businesses throughout the United States. The invoices purported to be from business or trade associations and sought payment for annual membership dues or inclusion in a business directory. In fact, Stokes had no authorization from any business or trade association to collect such payments. Stokes caused invoices to be sent to members of associations, including the American Dental Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association, the American Trucking Association, the Associated General Contractors of America, and the American Hospital Association. Hundreds of businesses were deceived by Stokes’ scheme and mailed checks to addresses he controlled. Stokes cashed them at a check-cashing business, and pocketed the proceeds for himself.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Shelly Binkowski, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit, and Doreen M. Rachal of Ortiz’s Asset Forfeiture Unit.