Virginia Business Owner Charged with Wire Fraud for Stealing $809,205.43 from Victims
LOUISVILLE, KY—The owner of Patriot Computers, a Virginia corporation, was charged by grand jury indictment today with wire fraud for stealing $809,205.43 from multiple victims, announced Acting United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.
According to the four count indictment, from December 1, 2012, through April 14, 2014, Mark Allen Hartley, age 55, of Land O Lakes, Florida, devised a scheme to defraud First Citizens Bank of Hardin County, Kentucky, and its customers. At the time, Hartley operated a business called Spartan Group Inc., dba Patriot Computers. Patriot Computers sold computer equipment to its customers on installment sales contracts. Customers of Patriot Computers agreed to have specified amounts of money taken from their paychecks on a regular basis until their purchases were paid in full. These customers completed payment authorization forms for these payment arrangements, and then Patriot Computers submitted these forms to First Citizens Bank in Hardin County, Kentucky. First Citizens Bank, through its bill payment service, would then transfer the payments from each customer’s paycheck to Patriot Computers’ account at Wells Fargo Bank until the customer’s contract with Patriot Computers was paid in full.
As part of the scheme and artifice to defraud, Hartley created fraudulent payment authorization forms and transmitted those, by e-mail, to First Citizens Bank. This caused the bank to transfer unauthorized payments from victims’ paychecks to an account at Wells Fargo Bank, controlled by Hartley. These unauthorized payments totaled approximately $809,205.43.
If convicted at trial, Hartley could be sentenced to no more than 20 years in prison for each count, fined $250,000 for each count and sentenced to three years of supervised release.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason Snyder and is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The indictment of a person by a Grand Jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.