Second Californian Man Charged with Conspiracy to Launder Proceeds of Fraud Schemes Targeting New Jersey Law Firm and SBA Loans | USAO-NJ
NEWARK, NJ – A second man from California has been charged with conspiracy to launder money from fraudulently obtained US Small Business Association loans and a business email compromise scheme that targeted a law firm. New Jersey-based attorneys, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael. A. Honig announced.
Anthony Debose Hannah, 57, of Moreno Valley, Calif., Is charged with one count of conspiracy to launder money. Hannah was taken into custody this morning in California and is scheduled to appear by video conference today before US Justice of the Peace Shashi H. Kewalramani in Riverside, Calif., Federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made to the court:
In June 2020, Victim 1 communicated by email with a New Jersey law firm that was assisting Victim 1, a resident of Bergen County, New Jersey, with a real estate transaction. One of the law firm’s email accounts was compromised and someone claiming to email on behalf of the law firm sent instructions to victim 1 to wire around $ 560,000 in an escrow account under the name of “Eric’s Commercial LLC”. Victim 1 wired approximately $ 560,000 into a corporate bank account controlled by Eric Bullard, Hannah’s conspirator. Victim 1 did not intend the money to be transferred to Bullard and sent the transfer to Bullard’s account believing the transfer instructions were from the New Jersey law firm.
Shortly after the $ 560,000 was transferred to Eric’s Commercial LLC’s bank account, approximately 10 cash withdrawals were made from the account for a total of $ 96,275. On June 14, 2020, three large wire transfers totaling approximately $ 460,000 were made from Eric’s business bank account to other bank accounts. One of these transfers was a wire transfer of approximately $ 230,000 to an account in the name of “Anthony Property Management & Development”, an account controlled by Hannah. Hannah opened the Anthony Property Management account on May 18, 2020 and was the only signatory of the account.
On June 15, 2020, approximately $ 230,000 was transferred from the Anthony Property Management account to another corporate account that does not appear to be controlled by Hannah or Bullard.
In addition to laundering the proceeds of the commercial email compromise, Bullard and Hannah also obtained and laundered funds from the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. In July 2020, Hannah received in a corporate bank account he controlled $ 145,400 from an SBA EIDL loan to a drugstore company with a listed location in Idaho, part of which he shared with Bullard. Bullard also received a $ 143,100 SBA EIDL loan intended for a drugstore company with a listed location in Colorado. A few days later, Bullard wrote Hannah a check for $ 51,000. In addition to the SBA loan money, Hannah also received payments from the Illinois Department of Job Security.
Bullard was arrested on similar charges last week in California and has been taken into custody; he is awaiting his transfer to the New Jersey district.
The count of money laundering conspiracy is liable to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transfer, whichever is greater.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited FBI special agents, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Jamie L. Hoxie of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are only charges and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.