Former Casino Worker Sentenced in D.C. Property Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
Connie Alexander Received at Least $3,185,370 in Cash and Deposited at Least $1,588,246 in Fraudulently Obtained D.C. Government Checks
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 11, 2009|
GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Connie Alexander, age 53, of Bowie, Maryland, today to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for receipt of stolen property and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a property tax refund scheme in which over $48 million were stolen from the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey A. Taylor. Judge Williams also ordered Alexander to pay $3,185,370 and, in order to satisfy such money judgment, to forfeit a Mercedes-Benz car, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a Cadillac Escalade SUV, designer handbags, 62 pieces of jewelry, fur coats and monies held in three bank accounts.
According to her plea agreement, Alexander first met co-conspirator Harriette Walters, a former manager within the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, in 1992 when Alexander was working at a Maryland casino that Walters frequented. They became friends, and Walters often gave Alexander gifts of money averaging $5,000 per gift. Walters also gave Alexander furs, and paid for much of Alexander’s 2006 wedding and reception at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sometime between 1998 and 2000, Harriette Walters introduced Alexander to Walter Jones, whom Harriette Walters described as her banker. Soon thereafter, Walters provided Alexander with envelopes containing fraudulently obtained D.C. government checks to take to Jones at bank branches in the District of Columbia and Maryland, saying that Jones would know what to do with the envelopes. Sometimes Jones directed Alexander to endorse some of the checks, even though Alexander did not have an account at the bank and Alexander was not entitled to the proceeds of the checks. Other times, Jones directed Alexander to endorse the checks by signing “Connie Alexander, Esquire” or in the name of a law firm, even though Alexander was not an attorney and had no affiliation with the law firm. Each time, Jones completed the transaction and gave Alexander an envelope to take back to Walters. Walters sometimes gave Alexander cash gifts after completing a transaction.
From December 1998 to November 2007, Alexander deposited on behalf of Walters at least eight D.C. government checks totaling $1,558,246.83. The individual checks ranged in amounts from $51,510 to $459,990. At Walters’s direction, Alexander deposited two of these checks in the amounts of $459,990 and $345,500 in a bank account Alexander opened for her business called “Aurora R.E. Enterprises,” a name suggested by Walters.
Between 2002 and 2007, Alexander received at least $3,185,370 in 92 cash payments from members of the conspiracy. Individual payments ranged in amounts of $1,000 to $150,000. Alexander used some of the money to buy a 2000 Mercedes-Benz automobile, 2002 Harley Davidson motorcycle, 2003 Cadillac Escalade SUV, three projection televisions, designer handbags, 62 pieces of jewelry, eight fur coats and two other coats, all of which she has agreed to forfeit, in addition to proceeds from three bank accounts.
All eleven defendants in this conspiracy have pleaded guilty, and all but Harriette Walters, age 52, of Washington, D.C., have been sentenced. Walters pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy; 10 years for District of Columbia tax evasion; five years for federal tax evasion; and an order to pay restitution in the amount of $48,115,419.09. U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Emmet G. Sullivan has scheduled her sentencing for June 16, 2009.
United States Attorneys Rod J. Rosenstein and Jeffrey A. Taylor thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; the Inspector General’s Office for the District of Columbia; the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, Criminal Investigation Division; and the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Integrity and Oversight for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Su and Deborah Johnston from the District of Maryland and Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Lynch and David Johnson from the District of Columbia, who are prosecuting the case.