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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Parkton Landscaper Admits to Stealing $180,000 from a Client

Helped His Client Set up On-Line Banking, Then Helped Himself to Client’s Money

Baltimore, Maryland – Jeffrey Poole, age 40, of Parkton, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft arising from a seven year scheme to access a client’s bank account.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office.

According to his plea, Poole met the victim when he provided landscaping services.  He helped set up the victim’s new computer for on-line banking and gained access to the victim’s personal identity and financial information.  Shortly thereafter, Poole used the victim’s identity to establish a PayPal account for the victim, without the victim’s knowledge.  Poole used the victim’s personal and financial information to link the victim’s PayPal account to the victim’s checking account, so that payments made with or money transferred from the victim’s PayPal account would be automatically drawn from the victim’s bank account.

From April 2007 through January 2014, Poole repeatedly logged onto the victim’s PayPal account and made purchases for himself.  He also initiated money transfers from the victim’s PayPal account into his own PayPal account.  He then transferred the victim’s funds to his own bank accounts.

As a result of the scheme, Poole fraudulently obtained or attempted to obtain over $244,000.

Poole faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for bank fraud, and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft consecutive to any other sentence imposed.  Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled his sentencing for September 23, 2015, at 9:15 a.m.

Poole has agreed to pay restitution of $180,000 for the actual losses incurred by the victim.

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 the U.S. Secret Service for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamera L. Fine, who is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated June 17, 2015