GREENBELT, Md. (May 26, 2016)—U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Robert Anthony Fitzgerald Lathan, age 48, of Accokeek, Maryland, today to 42 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for a bank fraud conspiracy in which the conspirators obtained fraudulent vehicle loans. Judge Chasanow also ordered Lathan to forfeit and pay a money judgment of $169,385.83.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Chief Hank Stawinski of the Prince George's County Police Department.
According to his plea agreement and other court documents, from January 2009 to April 29, 2015, Lathan and others applied for vehicle loans with financial institutions and lenders using false information as to employment history at shell entities created by the conspirators, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers. Lathan and others created and submitted fake documents, such as lien releases, utility bills, paystubs, letters of recommendation and a police report. The defendants often applied for vehicle loans on the same vehicle with different lenders. They sold the vehicles, obtained money from the sales and then did not provide the vehicles to the buyers. They deposited the loan funds into bank accounts and cashed loan checks at liquor stores. Lathan and his co-conspirators failed to pay the vehicle loans, which often resulted in the vehicles being repossessed by the lenders. Lathan knew that he had no intention of purchasing a vehicle and that the loan proceeds would be split between himself and his co-conspirators.
One of Lathan's roles in the conspiracy was to create fake documents for other co-conspirators to use when making fraudulent loan applications. For example, Lathan created a fake lien release for a vehicle, a deal worksheet with false information, and fake paystubs. Lathan sent the fake documents to a co-conspirator, who either used the documents himself or provided them to other conspirators to use while applying for fraudulent loans. In addition, Lathan permitted co-conspirators to use his name and other information on fraudulent loan applications.
The total intended loss resulting from Lathan's conduct in the scheme was at least $304,560.83.
Four co-defendants have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.
The Maryland Identity Theft Working Group has been working since 2006 to foster cooperation among local, state, federal, and institutional fraud investigators and to promote effective prosecution of identity theft schemes by both state and federal prosecutors. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Working Group, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to work with financial institutions and businesses to address identity fraud, identify those who compromise personal identity information, and protect citizens from identity theft.
Today's announcement is part of the efforts undertaken in connection with the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices, and state and local partners, it's the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI Baltimore and the Prince George's County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas P. Windom and Joseph R. Baldwin, who are prosecuting the case.