Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Inheritance-Related Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 26, 2011|
COLUMBIA, SC—United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that DARIAL CHATMAN, age 38, of Columbia, pled guilty in federal court to wire fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., accepted the plea. Chatman will likely be sentenced in January 2012.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that after Chatman’s mother died, her estate went into probate in Richland County. Inheritance Funding Company, Inc. (IFC) of San Francisco, California, is in the business of advancing funds to the heirs of substantial estates. Chatman falsified a series of court filings and financial documents, then submitted those to IFC. The documents gave the impression that Chatman’s mother had an estate worth over $2.8 million. As a result, IFC advanced Chatman $500,000 against the value of the estate. Eventually, IFC discovered that its impression of the estate was substantially overvalued, and that the advance payment had been obtained by fraud.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Chatman can receive is a fine of $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for 30 years, plus a special assessment of $100.
The case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Winston D. Holliday, Jr., of the Columbia office handled the case.