SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Derek Bluford, 34, of Sacramento, was sentenced today to seven years in prison for wire fraud, money laundering, obstruction of a federal investigation, and making false statements, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, Bluford told a couple that he was an attorney and could represent them in a dispute they were having with their tenant. After the couple agreed, Bluford then told them that they had incurred numerous fines and court costs, as well as costs to repair their rental unit; he also told them he had negotiated a settlement agreement with the couple’s former tenant. Based on these representations, the couple paid Bluford over $500,000. Bluford, in fact, was not an attorney, and there were no fines or court costs imposed. Bluford laundered the proceeds from his scheme, obstructed a federal investigation, and made false statements to the FBI regarding the investigation.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Anderson and Christopher S. Hales prosecuted the case.