Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Nelly Dadson, age 23, of Baltimore, today to four years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with two bank fraud schemes. Judge Grimm also ordered Dadson to forfeit and pay restitution of at least $251,745.52.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; John L. Phillips, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Department of the Treasury - Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Kathy A. Michalko of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office.
According to her plea, from June 14, 2010 to March 11, 2013, Dadson, Paul Essel and others opened bank accounts in their own names and in the names of shell corporations that they controlled. Dadson, Essel and others used counterfeit checks that resembled convenience checks that had been stolen from mailboxes in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. The counterfeit checks contained names, addresses and account information that appeared on the convenience checks. Dadson deposited these counterfeit checks into accounts controlled by the conspirators and then withdrew funds from the accounts. Essel and other co-conspirators paid Dadson between $1,000 and $5,000 per check to deposit these checks and withdraw funds.
In addition, between June 14, 2010 and November 13, 2012, Dadson, Essel and others conspired to defraud The Home Depot, Inc. On multiple occasions, a conspirator placed an order by phone with a Home Depot store for flooring in amounts ranging from $2,500 to $8,000, using a stolen credit card number. Within a few days, a conspirator called to cancel the order and supplied the debit card number of a conspirator, including Dadson and Essel, requesting that the refund for the order be placed on the conspirator’s debit card. Dadson received 38 credits to her bank accounts totaling approximately $141,159.07, which she then withdrew and provided to Essel. Dadson was paid $600-$800 per transaction.
On April 29, 2013, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Dadson’s home and upon entry, saw Dadson attempting to flush several stolen credit cards down a toilet. Dadson admits that she used a victim’s name to make fraudulent transactions on approximately 10 credit cards and numerous gift cards in the victim’s name, purchasing electronics and other expensive items.
The total loss caused by Dadson’s conduct is between $200,000 and $400,000, involving between 10 and 50 victims.
Paul Essel, age 26, of Laurel, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with two bank fraud schemes. Essel faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the conspiracy and bank fraud, and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft to be imposed consecutive to any other sentence. Essel has agreed to pay forfeiture and restitution of at least $418,435.48. U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm scheduled his sentencing for May 13, 2014.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Treasury – Office of Inspector General and U.S. Secret Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christen A. Sproule and Bryan E. Foreman and, who prosecuted the case.