Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Daren Kareem Gadsden, aka “D,” age 36, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, to 286 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for a conspiracy to steal almost $1.4 million from a Housing Authority of Baltimore City bank account. Judge Quarles also ordered Gadsden to forfeit $1,399,700.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department.
“This heavy sentence punishes Daren Gadsden for a brazen scheme to steal $1.4 million directly from the Baltimore City Housing Authority’s bank account,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Mr. Gadsden identified a vulnerability in the Housing Authority’s payment system and exploited it to steal taxpayer money intended to provide housing for low-income citizens.”
According to information presented at his six day trial, in 2009, Gadsden owned a property in Baltimore that was rented to a low income individual, whose rental payments were paid by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, from its account directly to Gadsden’s bank account. Witnesses testified that in late 2009 and 2010, Gadsden made a series of inquiries to another bank where he had an account about how to use his computer to make electronic transfers to and from his account at that bank. In early 2010, the Housing Authority lost a few thousand dollars when a series of unauthorized electronic transfers debited funds out of the Housing Authority’s account and into Gadsden’s bank account. After being confronted by Housing Authority officials, Gadsden denied any wrongdoing, but paid the Housing Authority $1,400 to cover some of its losses.
Trial evidence showed that, at this point, Gadsden already had embarked on the second stage of his scheme, stealing during the spring of 2010 a marginally larger amount of Housing Authority funds – less than $8,000 – this time not depositing into his own account, but rather into an account in the name of a bogus entity Gadsden had created using another individual’s stolen identifiers. Gadsden effected the unauthorized electronic debits out of the Housing Authority’s bank account by using fake authorization forms and other fraudulent documents.
The evidence showed that from early 2010 until at least September 17, 2010, Gadsden and several co-defendants then conspired to execute a larger scheme to defraud the Housing Authority. Specifically, Gadsden contacted Tyeast Brown to plan the fraud. Brown, in turn, contacted William Alvin Darden and Keith Eugene Daughtry, securing from Daughtry his social security card and birth certificate, which she provided to Darden. On May 19, 2010, Darden obtained a Maryland driver’s license with his photograph, but in Daughtry’s name, using Daughtry’s social security card and birth certificate as proof of identity. Darden then used the fraudulent license to open a bank account in the name of Keith Daughtry Contracting LLC. Gadsden had registered the entity with the state of Maryland, only a few days before, under a different, misspelled name. Darden also provided a mailing address for the company that was actually a mailbox rented by the conspirators at a commercial mailing store.
According to witness testimony, beginning in July, 2010, Gadsden and his co-conspirators electronically transferred nearly $1.4 million in funds from the Housing Authority’s bank account and into the Keith Daughtry Contracting LLC account. The conspirators then drained the stolen Housing Authority funds from the Keith Daughtry Contracting account by electronic transfers into accounts at other banks, in-person cash withdrawals and from automated teller machines. In addition, the conspirators electronically transferred funds from the Keith Daughtry Contracting account onto debit cards in the names of other individuals. For example, Gadsden opened a debit account in the name of another individual, using that person’s identity information without their knowledge or permission.
The evidence showed that Gadsden also tampered with evidence, deleting the contents of at least two email accounts after he was contacted by an FBI Special Agent. The accounts were provided as the points of contact for certain debit cards Gadsden opened using stolen identity information.
Judge Quarles also sentenced William Alvin Darden, age 46, of Washington, D.C. today to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Darden, who previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme, was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,399,700.
Tyeast Brown, aka “Peaches,” age 42, of Suitland, Maryland and Keith Eugene Daughtry, age 52, of Washington, D.C. also pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 36 months and 41 months in prison, respectively, and each was ordered to pay restitution of $1,399,700. Another co-conspirator, Marvin Moss, also pled guilty to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
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 FBI and Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Sujit Raman, who prosecuted the case.