Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Credit Union Fraud

Darnell M. Barnwell, 25, of Norfolk, Va., pleaded guilty on March 4 in Norfolk federal court to conspiring to defraud the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) and to committing credit union fraud. Barnwell faces a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison and a fine of $2,000,000.00 when he is sentenced on June 6, 2011.

According to court documents, Barnwell conspired with Christopher Moore, who previously pled guilty and is also awaiting sentencing, to steal monies from NFCU by fraudulent means. As part of the conspiracy, Moore obtained identity and account information about persons with accounts at NFCU during 2009 and 2010, although the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office does not indicate how he obtained them.*

Moore and other conspirators then impersonated the identity theft victims and applied by telephone and online for loans in the victims’ names. After NFCU approved the loans and sent out checks made out to the alleged seller and the identity theft victim, Moore and others intercepted the checks and forged the identity theft victims’ signatures to the checks.

From early 2009 through June 2010, the conspirators attempted to cash NFCU loan checks worth approximately $460,000.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

*I’ve put in a call to them to ask them if they can tell us how the information was obtained as it is not in the indictment or records I read. Parenthetically, I note that I have also put a call in to Public Affairs at the U.S. DOJ to see if we can get them to encourage more U.S. Attorney Office and DOJ press releases to include such information in press releases so that we know how or where a breach occurred.

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