Charleston man pleads guilty to making false statement to FBI agent
Defendant faces significant prison time for his false statement in West Virginia Prep Academy investigation and for a separate federal heroin crime
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Charleston man who falsely told the FBI that he did not get any money from anyone related to the West Virginia Prep Academy pleaded guilty today, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Daniel Andrew Hicks, 43, entered his guilty plea to making a materially false statement to an FBI agent.
In 2013, the FBI, along with the South Charleston Police Department, investigated whether any federal criminal violations had occurred in connection with the operation of the West Virginia Prep Academy, a college preparatory school purportedly set up to give students the opportunity to compete for college football and basketball scholarships. When an FBI Special Agent, along with an officer with the South Charleston Police Department, served a federal grand jury target letter on Hicks in the course of that investigation, Hicks stated that he “did not get a dime” from anyone related to the Prep Academy. Hicks later admitted that this statement was materially false, as he had deposited a check from the mother of a student into the bank account of the Prep Academy. Hicks further admitted that he did not return those funds to the mother when her son did not attend the Prep Academy. As part of the plea agreement, Hicks agreed to pay restitution of $11,808.59 to 23 individuals.
As part of a separate prosecution, Hicks previously pleaded guilty to a federal heroin crime, admitting that on several occasions in January and February of 2016, he sold heroin to a confidential informant working with law enforcement. Following his arrest on February 18, 2016, law enforcement found Hicks with close to five grams of heroin that he intended to distribute. Additionally, officers executed a search warrant on an apartment Hicks had rented at 112 Henson Avenue in South Charleston and seized $4,924 in cash stored in a shoe box on the kitchen counter. Next to the shoe box, officers also discovered three sets of digital scales and three cell phones.
Hicks faces a total of up to 25 years in federal prison for his crimes - up to five years for making a false statement to an FBI agent and up to 20 years for distribution of heroin. Hicks will be sentenced for both federal crimes in a consolidated proceeding on April 4, 2017.
The investigation of Hicks for his involvement in the West Virginia Prep Academy was conducted by the South Charleston Police Department and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Meredith George Thomas and John File are in charge of the false statement prosecution. The Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team conducted the heroin investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Monica D. Coleman is handling the prosecution of the drug crime. United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston is presiding over these cases.
The drug case is being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of pain pills and heroin. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers and heroin in communities across the Southern District.
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