Six people – five from Indiana and one from Michigan – have been sentenced for their roles in a fraud scheme that defrauded both a bank and an insurance company.
The US Attorney’s Office for the district court in Indianapolis said that the six people stole over $8.4 million from a bank and an insurance company, both based in Pennsylvania. The office would not disclose the names of the bank and the insurance company.
The investigation into the fraud was led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, joined by agents of the US Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Ernie Perkins, 40, of Zionsville, IN received the longest prison sentence of the six, at 70 months. He is also the most prominent of the accused due to his involvement in both fraud cases. Perkins was sentenced January 05, 2021.
One of the other sentenced was Shalonda Coleman, 45, of Indianapolis, IN. Coleman was a former employee of the victimized insurance company, and was sentenced to two years for her role in the fraud. She also was convicted of tax evasion and filing false tax returns.
Coleman used her position as a claims processor to defraud the insurance company she worked for, investigators said. She accomplished this by accessing the company’s computer system and sending checks disguised as work payments to Remarkable Creative Enterprises (RCE). Perkins would then deposit the checks into RCE accounts and pay Coleman a cut of the money pocketed.
The four other sentenced were John L. Williams, 52; Robert Finch, 73; Donald Landis, 59; and Walter Watson, 72. Williams received a nine-year sentence, Finch got four years, Landis got three years, and Watson received 18 months.
According to investigators, Williams used his position as a construction project manager at the victim bank’s Indianapolis regional office to identify construction and renovation projects that were projected to come in under budget. He would then notify Perkins, Finch, Watson and Landis, who would submit fraudulent invoices for work that was never performed, as well as for materials that were never supplied.
Indianapolis Business Journal reported that between November 2009 and August 2016, the defendants managed to submit hundreds of fraudulent invoices to the bank, totaling over $8.4 million.