Washington, D.C. Man Sentenced for Fraud Schemes Involving COVID-19 Protective Equipment, Tax Refunds, and Class Action Settlement Payments | USAO-DC

            WASHINGTON – A Washington, D.C., man was sentenced November 10, 2020 to 36 months of incarceration for his convictions on charges of mail fraud and wire fraud in relation to the sale of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and the filing of fraudulent tax refund request and class action settlement claims. 

            The announcement was made by Michael R. Sherwin, the Acting U.S. Attorney in this case, Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and, Jeff Dewitt, Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, Criminal Investigation Division.

            Craven Randall Casper, 38, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in two separate prosecutions, first to mail fraud on March 12, 2020, and later to wire fraud on July 14, 2020.  His sentencing was consolidated into one proceeding.  On November 10, 2020, Casper was sentenced by Judge Amit Mehta to 36 months’ incarceration.  He was placed on three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $235,807.11 in restitution to victims.

            According to the government’s evidence, in connection with the mail fraud prosecution, Casper obtained personally identifiable information (“PII”) for taxpayers from around the country and, posing as those taxpayers, filed false state tax income returns that contained refund claims.    Casper successfully negotiated approximately 47 of those fraudulently-obtained tax refund checks between approximately February 2018 and July 2019. This amounted to approximately $197,518.82.  In some instances, Casper also used individuals’ PII to open bank accounts in their names to further assist him in the scheme.  Casper also submitted online fraudulent claims, in other peoples’ names, to various class action settlement funds for payments of money from class action settlements. Between approximately December 2017 and February 15, 2018, Casper successfully negotiated at least 120 fraudulently-obtained class action settlement checks, totaling approximately $34,487.84.

            In connection with the wire fraud prosecution, in February and March 2020, Casper created and operated a website, www.coronavirusprotectionmasks.org, on which he advertised for sale personal protection equipment (“PPE”) related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These PPE items included N95 respirator masks, protective masks, and hand sanitizer.  Casper did not provide the PPE to the vast majority of his paying customers.  He stole at least $3,800.45 from his customers. 

            This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Marando.  Assistance was provided by Victim Witness Coordinator Tonya Jones and Victim Witness Program Specialist Yvonne Bryant, all of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

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Author: Editor
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