Birmingham Man Indicted for Fraud on Fallen Huntsville Police Officer’s Memorial Fund
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment last week charging a Birmingham man with fraud on customers of the U.S. Postal Service, and fraud on the memorial fund set up to provide aid to the family of a fallen Huntsville Police officer, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, U.S. Postal Inspector In Charge, Houston Division, Adrian Gonzalez, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr.
A four-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges DEVONTE LEMOND HAMMONDS, 27, with one count of access device fraud and three counts of wire fraud. In December 2019, Hammonds devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain money from the Billy Clardy Memorial Fund. Billy Clardy was a Huntsville Police officer killed in the line of duty last year. After Officer Clardy’s death, a memorial fund was established to collect contributions and provide aid to his family members. According to the indictment, Hammonds used the identity of another person to open a bank account and transfer funds from the Billy Clardy Memorial Fund bank account to the fictitious account for his own use. Hammonds also devised a scheme to defraud customers of the U.S. Postal Service. According to the indictment, Hammonds used the U.S. Postal Service website to reroute mail from numerous U.S. Postal Service customers to addresses in Birmingham that he could access, used the rerouted mail to obtain personal identifying information of those customers, and used that information to pay bills, make purchases, and open new accounts.
The maximum punishment for access device fraud is ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum punishment for wire fraud affecting a financial institution is thirty years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI and USPIS investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.B. Ward and Michael Pillsbury are prosecuting.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.