Former employee of Resources for Human Development sentenced for stealing mental health residents' information for tax refund fraud scheme
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Derrick Elrod, age 35, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to use stolen, personal identifying information of individuals to open bank accounts and fraudulently obtain cash, merchandise and services.
Elrod worked for Resources for Human Development, Inc. (RHD), a nonprofit social services organization headquartered in Philadelphia. Elrod was an advisor at a residential program that supports individuals with mental health needs.
According to Elrod’s plea agreement, in at least April 2010, Elrod became part of a bank fraud conspiracy led my Christopher Devine when he opened a checking account into which Devine and his co-conspirators deposited fraudulent checks totaling $4,800. Devine and others at his direction then made approximately $2,028.83 in cash advances and retail purchases before the bank returned the checks for insufficient funds.
After that, Elrod used his position at RHD to steal the personal identifying information of past or present residents of RHD. Elrod sold the personal information of at least 40 individuals who were residents of RHD programs to Devine during Devine’s many trips to Philadelphia.
Over the course of the scheme, Devine and his conspirators used the stolen information of at least four RHD residents to open checking accounts at banks, and deposited at least $11,598 in fraudulent checks into those accounts. Approximately $9,858 in cash advances and retail purchases were made from those accounts before the banks returned the checks for insufficient funds. Devine even paid a friend to create a fraudulent driver’s license using the stolen information of one of the victims, but with Devine’s photo.
In addition, Devine used the stolen personal information of RHD program residents to file at least 13 false tax returns for the 2010 tax year, claiming $51,987 in fraudulent refunds. Many of the false refunds were direct deposited into bank accounts controlled by Devine through the bank fraud scheme. The fraudulent refunds received through the tax scheme totaled $36,552.
The stolen personal information of 15 RHD program residents was used in the bank fraud and tax schemes.
Christopher Andre Devine, age 33; Quanishia Williamson-Ross, age 31; Quashonna Williamson, age 26, and Lenee E. Williamson, age 22, all of Salisbury, Maryland, Frederica, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and John Waters, age 38, of Philadelphia, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the conspiracy. Devine was sentenced to 121 months in prison, Williamson-Ross was sentenced to 42 months in prison; Lenee and Quashonna Williamson were each sentenced to three years in prison; and Waters was sentenced to 27 months in prison.