Greenbelt, Maryland – Howard Ware, age 42, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in connection with a fraud scheme to steal more than $233,000 from his employer and another business.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
According to his guilty plea, Ware admitted that between March 18, 2018 and July 20, 2018, he stole over $233,040 from his employer and from a trucking business by submitting more than 2,118 fraudulent invoices for services that were not actually performed.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Ware was an employee of Business 1, an environmental services company that operated a facility in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, to treat contaminated material. As part of his job, Ware was supposed to coordinate the hauling of materials to and from the facility with trucking companies, including Business 2, a trucking company based in Charlotte Hall, Maryland. Business 1 frequently hired Business 2 to haul material between the Upper Marlboro treatment facility and another facility that it operated. Business 2 would hire subcontractors to haul material on Business 2’s behalf.
In early 2018, Business 1 had an exceptionally large amount of material that needed to get moved from Facility 1. Ware coordinated with Business 2 to purportedly provide trucks to assist Business 2 with the additional hauling, working as subcontractors for Business 2 in order to help Business 2 haul Business 1’s material. In fact, Ware did not have a trucking business and never intended to provide any trucks or hauling services to Business 2. Ware simply offered his services as a way to embezzle funds from Business 1, because he intended to bill Business 2 for services that Ware never provided.
Business 1 was not aware of Ware’s arrangement with Business 2. Neither Business 1 nor Business 2 were able to monitor whether Ware actually performed any of the hauling services, since Ware alone was coordinating the trucks going and coming to the Upper Marlboro facility. Between at least March 18, 2018 and July 20, 2018, Ware invoiced Business 2 more than 2,000 times for services that were never performed. Business 2, in turn, invoiced Business 1. Business 1 paid Business 2, and Business 2 paid Ware, depositing $233,040 in bank accounts that Ware controlled. Ware then used the money to pay his personal expenses.
As part of his plea agreement, Ware will be required to forfeit and to pay restitution in the amount of $233,040.
Ware faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm has scheduled sentencing for February 26, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin B. Pulice, who is prosecuting the federal case.
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