Local Businessman Pleads Guilty to Receiving Fraudulent Wire Transfer of Over $17 Million
SHREVEPORT, La. – David D. DeBerardinis, 59, of Shreveport, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today before Chief United States District Judge S. Maurice Hicks, Jr. to a charge of wire fraud, announced Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook. Pursuant to the plea agreement entered in court and signed by DeBerardinis, he has agreed to a court-imposed sentence of 15 years.
DeBerardinis was a Shreveport, Louisiana based executive who operated and managed numerous business entities. He represented himself and his business entities to be part of the petroleum industry involved in a complex fuel trading business. DeBerardinis solicited and caused others to solicit individual investors and financial institutions to provide funds for his businesses in exchange for interest payments and a guaranteed return of principal.
DeBerardinis told investors and financial institutions that he had a preferential trading arrangement with Alon USA Energy, Inc. (Alon) that generated significant profits that would be used to repay the investors and financial institutions when in truth and in fact, DeBerardinis knew that he had no such arrangement with Alon. Between April 2014 and June 2015, PlainsCapital Bank, a financial institution in Dallas, Texas, provided funding to DeBerardinis in the amount of $29,500,000 allegedly to expand his fuel trading business. At the time the funding was obtained, DeBerardinis knew that he was not making fuel trades and that he did not have a relationship with Alon.
The funding from PlainsCapital was made by several interstate wire transfers from PlainsCapital Bank in Dallas to one of DeBerardinis’ bank accounts in Shreveport. The defendant either initiated or caused to be initiated these wire transfers. One of the wire transfers occurred on or about November 25, 2014 in the amount of $17,100,000.
“Over the course of several years David DeBerardinis created an incredibly complex fraud scheme to give the impression that he was a successful fuel trader. He destroyed the lives of many people by stealing their savings to finance his extravagant lifestyle,” stated Acting United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook. “Mr. DeBerardinis used the friendships that he had with others to lure them into his scheme and many of them suffered greatly because of his deception and unlawful actions. We will not stop fighting to seek justice for the victims that he has left in the wake of his greed and careless actions.”
“Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that individuals like Mr. DeBerardinis who engage in financial fraud will not go undetected and will be held accountable. The FBI is determined to identify, investigate, and bring to justice those who are committing financial crimes to enrich themselves at the expense of others,” said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams, Jr. “We thank our partners at the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Louisiana, and the United States Secret Service for their strong partnership and unrelenting pursuit of justice.”
Sentencing has been set for January 4, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Secret Service and Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica D. Cassidy and Cadesby B. Cooper are prosecuting the case.
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