Trucking company owner pleads guilty to wire fraud related to illegally consolidating loads, overbilling
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Shane Ryan Hammond, 27, of Hilliard, Ohio, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $48,000 restitution for impersonating a federal agent, kidnapping, wire fraud and interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Michael B. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, and Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
According to court documents, from at least March 2016 until May 2017, Hammond owned and operated “Midwest Fugitive Task Force” located in Columbus. In this capacity, he was often referred to as Commander or Lieutenant Hammond and sought out employment opportunities as a bail recovery agent for himself and other employees.
Hammond was not actually licensed as a bounty hunter, nevertheless, on at least nine occasions, Hammond knowingly and unlawfully kidnapped a person for reward. All of these individuals but one were considered “bail skips” and Hammond had been hired by a bail bondsman in West Virginia to apprehend the individuals and return them to a designated jail facility for a monetary reward.
Hammond would often dress in an all-black tactical uniform with a black ballistic vest. He typically carried multiple handguns, throwing knives, a Taser and usually one or two law-enforcement-style badges with ‘SWAT’ shoulder patches and a large back patch reading ‘AGENT,’ but he was not a federal agent, or a law enforcement officer of any kind.
For example, in May 2017, Hammond kidnapped an individual outside of the individual’s grandmother’s home in Columbus. He pushed himself into the grandmother’s residence, heavily armed, and ran to the male individual with his AK47 up and pulled out his Taser (Hammond does not have any formal training with either of these weapons). He ordered the individual to the ground, kicked the individual’s drink and threatened the individual not to do “anything stupid” or he would get hurt.
As another example, when searching for a female in Canton, Ohio in September 2016, Hammond handcuffed the individual’s mother after forcibly entering the home and pointing a rifle at her. He indicated he was a Federal Bounty Hunter and told her she had the right to remain silent.
He then handcuffed the female’s father and said he was taking the father with him to help look for his daughter. Hammond reiterated that if the father did not go with him, he would take his wife to jail.
Hammond placed the handcuffed father into his vehicle and did not return him until the following morning – still in handcuffs. In fact, on the drive back, Hammond was pulled over for speeding and Hammond told the Trooper he was working for a federal agency.
Hammond routinely represented himself to others as a member of law enforcement, pretending to be a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, working with Homeland Security, a SWAT officer and a federal agent, generally.
For example, in March 2017 in the Cincinnati area, Hammond told a female “you realize lying to a federal agent is a crime” and then, “don’t lie to a federal agent, that’s four years in jail.” He then added, “Don’t get an attitude. I’m just letting you know if I come back and I find out you’re involved I’m going to arrest you, you got me.” Making false statements to an official of the United States is actually a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
In the same month, Hammond also visited an apartment complex in Jackson, Ohio and called one of the managers to explain that he had a warrant and was seeking a fugitive involved in the shooting of a Huntington, W.Va. police officer, although all of this statement was untrue. He told management he had called the Jackson Police and that the police would stay out of his way because he was a federal investigator and he knew what to do.
His false representations at the apartment complex led to the apartment management sharing H.U.D. files with Hammond and Hammond’s search of the apartment of an elderly female, to whom he identified himself as “Commander Hammond with the U.S. Government Fugitive Task Force.”
Hammond was charged by a Bill of Information in October 2017 and, in January 2018, failed to appear for his arraignment.
Through their efforts to locate Hammond, FBI agents uncovered additional criminal activity – namely, wire fraud and interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.
Hammond devised a scheme to defraud investors of more than $48,000, telling investors he had secured a government contract for $79 million to provide physical security to the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia. Hammond represented that he needed start-up money for the business and legal costs until he would receive the $79 million a few months later.
One investor also allowed Hammond to borrow his Chevrolet truck. Hammond then re-registered the truck into his own name, stole it and drove it to West Virginia, where he was later arrested.
He pleaded guilty in June 2018 to a Superseding Bill of Information, which included one count each of kidnapping, impersonating an agent of the United States and interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, and two counts of wire fraud. Hammond also pleaded guilty to one additional count of kidnapping, as charged by the Southern District of West Virginia in a Bill of Information.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and Assistant United States Attorney Jessica W. Knight, who is representing the United States in this case.
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