Two Men Sentenced to Federal Prison for Defrauding Their Employer Out of Over $2 Million in Connection with the Sale of Chicken Frame Products
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced that David D. DeBerardinis, 60, of Shreveport, Louisiana, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge S. Maurice Hicks, Jr. to 15 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for committing wire fraud and defrauding many people out of millions of dollars. A presentence investigation estimated the amount of loss to the victims in this case to be over $58,000,000. A hearing will be held on March 28, 2022 at 9:00 to determine the exact full amount of restitution to be paid by DeBerardinis.
DeBerardinis, a Shreveport-based executive, pleaded guilty to the charge of wire fraud on August 25, 2021. DeBerardinis admitted that he operated and managed numerous business entities and that 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.
“As was evident in today’s sentencing hearing, this defendant spent many years conning not only business associates, but also friends who trusted him, out of millions of dollars and destroying many of their lives while doing so,” stated United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown. “His cavalier attitude about the deception he used and the destruction that he caused is appalling. Seeking justice for victims such as these in this case is what continues to drive us to work harder to weed out those who deploy such unconscionable acts.”
DeBerardinis was ordered to report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on February 16, 2022.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Secret Service and Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica D. Cassidy and Cadesby B. Cooper prosecuted the case.
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