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Press Release

Conspirator Admits to Fraudulently Obtaining Vehicle Loans

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Submitted Fake Documents and False Information to Obtain Car Loans, Defrauding Lenders; Also Agreed to Sell Vehicles to Other Individuals, Took Their Money, But Did Not Provide the Cars

Greenbelt, Maryland – Derrick Kwan Byas, Jr., age 27, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft arising from a bank fraud scheme.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, from January 2009 to April 29, 2015, Byas and others applied for vehicle loans with financial institutions and lenders using false information as to employment history, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers.  They created and submitted fake documents, such as lien releases, utility bills, paystubs, letters of recommendation and a police report.

When applying for the loans, Byas had no intention of actually purchasing a vehicle and instead knew that any loan proceeds would be split between himself and others.  Byas and his co-conspirators often applied for vehicle loans on the same vehicle with different lenders.  They deposited the loan funds into bank accounts and cashed loan checks at liquor stores. They failed to pay the vehicle loans, which often resulted in the vehicles being repossessed by the lenders.

Byas and his co-conspirators also nominally agreed to sell the vehicles, obtained money from the sales and then did not provide the vehicles to the buyers.

In February 2014, Byas obtained a credit card using a false social security number, resulting in a loss to the bank issuing the card.  From May to November 2014, Byas attempted to obtain six car loans, three personal loans and a credit card. 

The intended loss resulting from Byas’s fraudulent conduct was at least $220,603. 

Byas faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for conspiring to commit bank fraud and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, consecutive to any other sentence.  U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow scheduled sentencing for July 11, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.

The Maryland Identity Theft Working Group has been working since 2006 to foster cooperation among local, state, federal, and institutional fraud investigators and to promote effective prosecution of identity theft schemes by both state and federal prosecutors. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Working Group, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to work with financial institutions and businesses to address identity fraud, identify those who compromise personal identity information, and protect citizens from identity theft.

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 HSI Baltimore and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas P. Windom and Joseph R. Baldwin, who are prosecuting the case.

Updated March 9, 2016

Topics
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft