MIAMI−Following a three-day trial, a federal jury found Donald Howard Conkright, 63, of Key West, Florida, guilty for his role in laundering more than $2 million that was stolen from a Texas school district.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Dallas Field Office, made the announcement.
According to the evidence presented at trial, a spoofed email was used to trick a Texas school district into sending approximately $2 million to a bank account that Conkright controlled. The school district had that money earmarked for the construction of a new elementary school.
Once the $2 million hit the bank account, Conkright began to spend and conceal the money. He purchased $70,000 worth of Rolex watches, over $13,000 at Apple stores, and a $128,000 BMW, among other transactions. Conkright also withdrew more than $60,000 in cash from the account, in increments below $10,000. He wired out of the country about $875,000, and sent over $70,000 worth of computers to Nigeria. In addition to laundering the school district’s money, there was evidence presented at trial that Conkright had laundered, and attempted to launder, other victims’ money as part of the same conspiracy between 2017 and 2019.
The jury found Conkright guilty of conspiring to commit money laundering and substantive money laundering. Sentencing is scheduled in Key West, Florida for May 11, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsey Lazopoulos Friedman and Yisel Valdes prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling asset forfeiture.