Springfield Landlord Convicted of Fraud and Forgery Charges
SPRINGFIELD - A Springfield landlord was convicted in federal court today of fraud and related charged in connection with fires at two of his Springfield properties.
Wilkenson Knaggs, 43, was convicted by a jury following a five-day trial of three counts of mail fraud, two counts of negotiating checks with forged endorsements, and two counts of spending the mail fraud proceeds. U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for March 20, 2015.
Following a Nov. 16, 2008 fire at 376-378 Franklin Street in Springfield, Knaggs submitted a fraudulent contract for rehabilitating the three-family house in order to obtain a payout on his homeowner’s policy. He also forged the endorsement of the City of Springfield on a second check, cashing the check at a Boston check cashing company, and using the proceeds to buy a two-family house at 99 Central Street. In addition, Knaggs recorded the title to 99 Central Street in the name of a relative and used the relative to make a claim on the insurance policy after a March 7, 2010, fire at the Central Street property.
The charging statutes provide for a sentence of no more than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each mail fraud count with lower maximum sentences on the other charges. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the statutory maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; Shelley Binkowski , Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service; and Vincent Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen Goodwin and Deepika Shukla of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.