October 26, 2021

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Beyond law

Former EDA director pleads ‘not guilty’ to fraud, dollars laundering rates | Nvdaily

A former executive director of the Entrance Royal-Warren County Financial Advancement Authority pleaded not guilty Friday to federal fees of fraud, income laundering and identity theft.

Jennifer R. McDonald appeared for an arraignment listening to by means of Zoom in the U.S. District Court docket for the Western District of Virginia. The listening to lasted about 3 minutes.

Judge Joel C. Hoppe asked McDonald how she pleaded to the four counts of an indictment charging her with bank and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and cash laundering. McDonald pleaded not responsible to all counts.

McDonald, 44, of Front Royal, stays totally free on a particular recognizance bond. Assistant General public Defender Andrea Harris represents McDonald as her court docket-appointed lawful counsel. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Welsh is prosecuting the circumstance.

For the duration of the arraignment approach, Hoppe requested McDonald quite a few questions to which she responded beneath oath. McDonald said she retains a bachelor’s diploma. McDonald said she has labored for the EDA and as a true estate agent. She at present is effective as a supply driver.

McDonald mentioned, in response to another concern, that she is not, nor had been recently underneath the care of a physician or psychiatrist for any psychological health issues or substance abuse. McDonald explained she experienced not taken any medicines or drugs or drank any alcohol in the former 24 several hours.

McDonald waived a formal studying of the indictment.

Hoppe scheduled the trial for Nov 3. Harris stated she most likely would file a motion that day asking the court to proceed the situation.

McDonald served as the EDA govt director from April 2008 to December 2018. A grand jury in the federal court docket handed up a 34-depend indictment less than seal on Aug. 25. McDonald appeared in courtroom on Tuesday in which the clerk unsealed the indictment and federal authorities arrested her on the four charges.

Convictions on the expenses have optimum punishments of up to 30 several years for bank fraud, 20 yrs for wire fraud and 10 many years for income laundering. A conviction of aggravated identity theft carries a necessary minimal sentence of two years in jail.

At her very first court visual appearance, Hoppe granted McDonald launch on her personal recognizance. Hoppe ordered McDonald into pretrial providers and to abide by the circumstances of the bond.

The indictment accuses McDonald of devising and taking part in schemes in which she employed EDA cash to make payments on personalized credit score playing cards and towards balances of credit history cards of family members. McDonald developed false documents, which include invoices and actual estate paperwork, to disguise the scheme, the indictment states. She also solid the names of others to disguise and to effect the fraud scheme, the indictment states.

McDonald submitted bogus documents to bank staff and auditors and settlement agreements and also built wire transfers, withdrew money, deposited checks and issued cashier’s checks and payments to financial establishments to even further the fraud, the indictment states.

McDonald owned and operated DaBoyz LLC. The indictment identifies a DaBoyz co-proprietor only by the initials “D.M.” McDonald also owned and operated MoveOn8 LLC.

McDonald devised and participated in a scheme from June 3, 2014 to Dec. 20, 2018 to defraud the EDA and to obtain dollars and assets by means of wrong and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, the indictment states. McDonald, through her placement at the EDA, had entry to money belonging to the authority in examining accounts and from credit rating facilities in the entity’s identify, the indictment states.

In a single instance, federal authorities accuse McDonald of using EDA income to pay off loans for Minor Rugratz LLC in which she and a family members member owned an fascination.

The indictment also describes real estate techniques that authorities claim McDonald pursued with EDA money.

“(McDonald), without authorization, used EDA resources to obtain authentic residence for her profit in the names of some others and in the identify of DaBoyz, LLC,” the indictment states. “For these genuine estate transactions, (McDonald) usually gained commissions as a real estate agent.”

The indictment states that McDonald made use of EDA money without having authorization to invest in properties at:

* 400 Craig Generate, Stephens Town

* 118 Jutland Courtroom, Stephens Town

* 1309 Robinhood Lane, Front Royal

* 2890 Buck Mountain Highway, Browntown, in the name of DaBoyz LLC

* 1321 Satisfied Creek Highway, Entrance Royal, in the identify of DaBoyz LLC

* 2951 Rileyville Highway, Rileyville, in the title of DaBoyz LLC.

The indictment goes on to condition that McDonald made use of EDA funds, with out authorization, to make payments towards balances accrued on own and spouse and children members’ credit rating playing cards. McDonald established phony files, such as invoices and authentic estate documents, to disguise the plan, the indictment states. McDonald cast the names of others, submitted fake documents to lender workers, auditors and settlement brokers, the indictment states. She built wire transfers, withdrew cash, deposited checks, attained cashier’s checks and compensated fiscal establishments as aspect of the plan, the indictment states.

The 1st count of the indictment rates McDonald with wire fraud. The indictment rates McDonald with transferring a complete of $3,562,100 on 3 dates in 2016 and 2017 from an EDA account with The Initial Lender and Rely on to a Union Bank and Have faith in account in the title of TLC Settlements LLC. McDonald transferred a overall of $416,491 in 4 transactions from May possibly 30, 2018 to July 6, 2018, from an account held at The Initial Bank and Trust in the name of the EDA to one more account held by the authority at United Financial institution.

Yet another count in the indictment charges McDonald with financial institution fraud. The depend accuses McDonald of creating debits by using cashier’s checks totalling $740,000 from a United Bank account in the identify of the EDA built payable to Service Title of Entrance Royal, LLC, on unique dates from July 24, 2014 to Aug. 31, 2015.

McDonald built wire transfers totalling $3,562,099 from an account held at The To start with Financial institution and Have confidence in in the name of the EDA to an account held at Union Financial institution and Rely on held by TLC Settlements LLC, on dates from Sept. 14, 2016 to April 26, 2017, the indictment states. McDonald built payments to a Sears own credit history card by Citibank with four checks from an EDA account with United Bank totalling $51,915 on distinctive dates in June 2018.

The indictment accuses McDonald of committing aggravated identity theft from Sept. 8, 2016 to Sept. 20, 2016, for the duration of and associated to wire fraud.

The prison indictment is individual from a civil lawsuit submitted by the EDA that accuses McDonald and a handful of co-defendants of misappropriation or embezzlement of authority cash for their individual gain and made use of in many genuine estate schemes. The EDA statements McDonald utilized a lot more than $20 million of the authority’s funds in her schemes. A condition legislation permitted the EDA to triple the volume sought in the go well with.

A choose in Warren County Circuit Courtroom recently granted a movement for partial last judgment that marked the conclusion of the EDA’s criticism as it pertains to McDonald but leaves the scenario energetic from the co-defendants. McDonald has agreed via her lawful counsel that she is liable to the EDA for $9 million.

McDonald’s bankruptcy case in the U.S. District Court remains active as a trustee continues to liquidate her assets.