Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Robert Hopkins IV, 37, of Baltimore, Maryland to 51 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, for wire fraud conspiracy and theft charges. aggravated identity related multiple identity theft and fraudulent schemes, including submitting fraudulent loan applications under the CARES Act. Judge Chasanow also ordered Hopkins to pay $456,784.54 in restitution.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron, Special Agent in Charge Bo Keane of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office and Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the United States Police Department. Baltimore County.
According to his guilty plea, from May 2018 to June 2020, Hopkins and co-conspirator Keon Ball, 46, of Baltimore, Maryland incurred charges of more than $1,000,000 on fraudulently established lines of credit, using the identities of several victims in connection with the schemes. For example, on August 25, 2018, Ball submitted a false and fraudulent application to open an account with a financial institution using Victim 1’s name, date of birth, and social security number. credit application approved, Hopkins and Ball incurred $105,442.59 in purchases from Company 1 (a home improvement store) under the identity of Victim 1. The defendants then repeated the scheme several times, incurring charges over $150,000 in connection with lines of credit opened using the names of various other victims. The charges were never repaid. The defendants also repeatedly forwarded fraudulent checks to Company 1, claiming to pay the balances they had incurred. In addition, as part of their fraud scheme, the defendants obtained two vehicles worth over $60,000 and several pieces of heavy construction equipment worth over $300,000 using Identity information of the victim 2.
Additionally, from June 2020 to August 2020, Hopkins sought $664,450 in fraudulent CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program loan applications for four shell companies he created that did not exist in a legitimate capacity. . As part of these requests, Hopkins submitted fraudulent tax documents that falsely stated that the shell companies had paid salaries to numerous W-2 employees and withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal income tax. In fact, the so-called companies had no employees. The loans were never distributed to Hopkins.
In total, Hopkins and Ball caused over $449,000 in actual losses and used the personal identifying information of at least six victims in their scheme. Hopkins intended to cause the victims a loss of over $1,100,000.
Co-defendant Keon Ball was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft in connection with the multiple schemes in July 2022. The court also ordered Ball to pay $715,504 in compensation.
The Maryland District Strike Force is one of three strike forces established across the United States by the United States Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute COVID-19-related fraud, including fraud related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The CARES Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to Americans suffering from the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Strike Force focuses on large-scale, multi-state pandemic relief fraud perpetrated by criminal organizations and transnational actors. Strike Forces are interagency law enforcement efforts, using teams led by prosecutors and data analysts designed to identify and bring to justice those who have stolen pandemic relief funds.
For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus. Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or through the complaint form online from NCDF at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the USSS and the BCPD for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Riley, who prosecuted the case.
For more information about the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and the resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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