The U.S. District Court in Seattle reported that a 50-year-old man entered a guilty plea to wire fraud, identity theft and filing a false income tax return. The incident stemmed from the man's alleged defrauding of a government program that was supposed to help non-profits and schools. At sentencing for the felony charges, he could receive a minimum of two years in prison in addition to any other penalties the court imposes. He will also be ordered to pay an undetermined amount of restitution.
The facts of the case in the plea agreement state that the charges occurred between 2007 and 2013. He was involved with a program called 'Computers for Learning" that takes government surplus equipment, such as computers, and gives it to qualified schools and non-profits. However, he pretended he was a legitimate non-profit entity, obtained the electronic equipment and then sold it and kept the money for himself. Over the years, he obtained 19,442 items originally worth $30.3 million. A basic formula to determine the worth of the equipment put the value of the product at about $7.2 million. In addition, related shipping costs totaled more than $100,000.
In one case, the defendant befriended the head of a legitimate non-profit agency and obtained their information. He developed a fraudulent account under the company's name and got 41 computers from the Border Patrol. He sold the computers to fund his own purposes. However, he never reported any income for the transactions on federal or state tax returns.
Fraud and theft convictions could result in the court ordering someone to pay millions of dollars in restitution. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to negotiate a plea agreement in order to mitigate the possible penalties, including restitution, that a client faces.
Source: The Enumclaw Courier-Herald , "California man pleads guilty to defrauding the governent | U.S. District Court", January 05, 2014