Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal jury today convicted Jemel Maurice Lyles, a/k/a Michael Anderson, Anthony Alva and Tony Alva, age 35, of Beltsville, Maryland, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, arising from a scheme in which he fraudulently received $72,000 from a victim after falsely promising to assist the victim to obtain $1 million in financing for a day care center.
The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
According to court documents and evidence presented at his five-day trial, co-conspirator Stephen Courtney Evans introduced Victim 1 to Lyles, whom he identified as “Michael Anderson.” The victim was looking for capital to finance a day care center. Lyles communicated with the victim by email or telephone under the alias of Michael Anderson, the CFO of Capital Group Holdings. Lyles and Evans falsely represented that CGH was a financial services business and for a fee, could obtain a Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) for the victim. Lyles agreed to sell the victim a $1 million SBLC in exchange for a 7.2% fee of the total amount, or $72,000. According to trial testimony, Lyles falsely represented that the victim could use the SBLC as collateral to obtain a non-recourse loan (a loan that the victim would not be required to pay back) from another financial institution.
The evidence showed that Lyles falsely told the victim that Hampstead Private Finance Group Limited (HPFG) would provide the victim with an $800,000 non-recourse loan, using the $1 million SBLC as collateral. According to witness testimony, Lyles communicated with the victim using a purported HPFG email address, which Lyles created to perpetrate the scheme, and the alias “Tony Alva,” the Chief Financial Officer of Hampstead Private Finance Group, which at that time was a defunct entity. Using the Alva alias, Lyles falsely confirmed to the victim that HPFG would accept the $1 million SBLC, which the victim was to obtain from CGH, as collateral on an $800,000 non-recourse loan.
According to evidence presented at trial, after receiving the victim’s $72,000 fee for the SBLC, Lyles took the money for his personal use, including the purchase of a Land Rover, and payment of past due rent. Lyles (as Anderson) continued to assure the victim that a $1 million SBLC had been purchased and that the transaction was being processed. Lyles (as Anderson) also falsely told the victim that he would return the victim’s $72,000 fee.
Lyles faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy, and for wire fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of the two counts of money laundering. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled his sentencing for January 23, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
Co-conspirator Stephen Courtney Evans, age 50, of Manassas, Virginia, previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
Today’s announcement is part of the efforts undertaken in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established 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. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ray D. McKenzie and Thomas M. Sullivan, who are prosecuting the case.