Former Executive Director of Alabama Association for Career and Technical Education Sentenced for Embezzling Federal Funding
Montgomery, Alabama – Today, United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart announced the sentencing of a third defendant involved in a money order and bank fraud scheme. On July 25, 2023, a judge sentenced Damion Lavar Stowes, Jr., 25, from Montgomery, Alabama, to 60 months in prison. Previously, two other co-defendants were sentenced for their parts in the conspiracy. On April 10, 2023, Calvin Darius Franklin, Jr., 29, a resident of Blue Island, Illinois, received a sentence of 45 months. Then, on May 1, 2023, a judge imposed a 24-month sentence for Jyria Ye’Vae Barnes, 23, also from Montgomery. Before their sentencing hearings, Stowes, Franklin, and Barnes each pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit U.S. Postal money order and bank fraud.
According to their plea agreements and other court records, Stowes, Franklin, Barnes, and others, bought U.S. Postal Service money orders for around $1 in states throughout the southeast, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee. They then altered the money orders to reflect higher amounts, most often $1,000. The three recruited people via social media applications to provide bank account information and used the recruits’ accounts to cash the altered money orders. Stowes, Franklin, and Barnes then split the profits amongst themselves. In addition, Stowes, Franklin, and Barnes also cashed and caused to be cashed multiple forged checks in the Montgomery area, again recruiting people via social media to cash the forged checks and splitting the profits. When sentencing all three defendants, the judge determined that the amount of actual loss from their scheme was approximately $94,574 and ordered restitution in that amount. However, based on money orders and checks recovered during the investigation before they were cashed, the potential loss amount was more than $500,000.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to identifying and prosecuting individuals who exploit our financial system for their own profit,” stated United States Attorney Stewart. “I applaud the Postal Inspection Service for preventing a greater loss to the American taxpayers and holding the defendants accountable.”
“Postal Inspectors will never tolerate anyone defrauding the Postal Service or its customers," said Inspector-in-Charge Scott Fix with the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Houston Division. “The sentences handed down to Franklin, Barnes and Stowes should serve as a reminder to other perpetrators engaged in this type of criminal behavior that we will work diligently to bring them to justice.”
A fourth defendant, also from Montgomery, Milon Jaclarius Moss, 26, pleaded guilty to bank fraud earlier this year and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 23, 2023.
The United States Postal Inspection Service investigated this case, which Assistant United States Attorney Joel Feil is prosecuting.