Local businesses owner and employee each plead guilty to filing false tax returns after failing to report nearly $4 million in income
ATLANTA - Hassan Ra El, a/k/a Rasheem Harrson Crockett has been sentenced to federal prison for defrauding business owners around the country to pay over $10 million dollars in advance fees for business loans, a scheme in which he falsely claimed to be a member of the Moroccan Royal Family.
“The defendant has been held responsible for his elaborate advance fee loan scheme that took advantage of individuals and businesses that hoped to raise needed capital,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We encourage consumers and business owners to be careful about whom they enter business relationships with, and to scrutinize websites and marketing materials carefully for any indication of fraud.”
“Postal Inspectors unraveled a sophisticated advanced fee scheme by following the financial tracks of this defendant,” said Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division. “The sentencing handed down in this case should serve as a warning to individuals who intend to misuse the U.S. Mails through deceptive practices.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Hassan Ra El operated a scheme to defraud business owners across the country who were seeking loans. El claimed that he was a wealthy investor and a member of the Moroccan Royal Family. El fraudulently claimed that he had access to Moroccan Royal Family funds that would be used to fund business loans. El created fraudulent documentation showing that insurance companies were offering default insurance policies on the loans. El convinced prospective loan applicants that they had to pay default insurance fees, typically 10% of the loan amount, before the loans would fund. When the loans failed to fund, El used fees from later loan applicants to partially refund fees from previous loan applicants.
In furtherance of the scheme, El created fraudulent bank statements purportedly showing that he or companies that he controlled had millions in bank accounts. El also created fraudulent email accounts and correspondence purportedly from insurance executives stating that loans had been approved. El used fees from loan applicants to fund his lifestyle, pay his living expenses, and to rent high-end automobiles, including a Ferrari, Range Rover and Lamborghini. El fraudulently induced victims to pay over $10 million dollars in advance fees. Neither El nor his companies funded any of the promised loans and loan applicants lost over $5 million dollars in the fraud scheme.
Hassan Ra El, a/k/a Rasheem Harrson Crockett, 45, of Chino Hills, California, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William M. Ray II to 13 years and 11 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,510,001. El was convicted of mail fraud on January 15, 2020, after he pleaded guilty. He was previously convicted of two counts of felony theft by deception in Douglas County, Georgia, for defrauding loan clients in 2006. After his convictions in Douglas County, El formerly changed his name from Rasheem Harrson Crockett to Hassan Ra El and continued to defraud prospective business owners seeking capital.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Brown and Erin Sanders are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.