Former Customs Employee Pleads Guilty To Auctioning Online A Customs Declaration Form Signed By A Celebrity
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced to prison two men for their role in a scheme involving more than $1 million in fraudulent automobile and personal loans, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Shawn Davis, 44, of Huntersville, N.C. and Darren Eugene Littles, 47, of Charlotte, were sentenced to 30 months and 27 months in prison, respectively, followed by a three years of supervised release. Judge Conrad also ordered Littles to pay $394,784.50 and Davis $45,284.04 as restitution. Davis and Littles each pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud conspiracy and one count of financial institution fraud.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Russell F. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Division.
Two additional defendants charged in connection with the scheme were sentenced on March 30, 2015.Kimberly Arnell Cureton, 45, of Rock Hill, S.C. was sentenced to 24 months in prison and one year of supervised release.She pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.Kevin Lamone Desmore, 43, of Durham, N.C., was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release.Desmore pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and making a false statement on a loan application.
According to filed court documents and yesterday’s court proceedings, the defendants conspired with each other and obtained automobile and personal loans from financial institutions by lying on the loan applications and submitting false or forged information and documentation to support the fraudulent loan packages.Court records indicate that, at times, the loan packages contained inflated prices for the automobiles to be purchased and, in many instances, the loan applicants failed to make the required loan payments but attempted to keep the funds obtained as a result of the fraudulent loan applications.
According to court records, Littles was the primary facilitator of the conspiracy.Littles recruited individuals to submit fraudulent loan applications, contacted financial institutions and submitted the fraudulent loan packages and, at times, used stolen identities of individuals or impersonated other people to facilitate the fraud.Littles received a commission based on the fraudulent auto loans deals.Court records indicate that Davis’ role in the conspiracy was to create fraudulent tax documents to support the loan applications, including fake W2s, tax returns and tax earning statements, among other things.Court records show that Davis has a previous federal conviction in connection with a 2000 investigation into bank fraud.
According to court records, Cureton served as a “credit scrubber,” who helped improve applicants’ negative credit scores, and Desmore worked as a recruiter of individuals whose information was used to fill out the fraudulent applications.On some occasions, Desmore even created fake residential leases to support the loan applications.According to court records, between 2008 and 2011 the conspirators obtained and attempted to obtain more than $1 million dollars in automobile and personal loans as a result of the conspiracy.
In handing down the two sentences, Judge Conrad noted that Davis had continued to engage in fraudulent conduct, and that Littles was “a leader in the conspiracy who facilitated the obtaining of fraudulent loans.”
The defendants were released on bond following the sentencing hearing.They will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility, to begin serving their sentences.All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case.Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Smith was in charge of the prosecution.