Serial Fraudster Sentenced for Second Operation Homeless Scheme

RICHMOND, Va. – A previously convicted felon was sentenced today to 100 months in prison for conspiring to commit mail and bank fraud while on supervised release for a prior federal fraud conspiracy.

According to court documents, Gary Darnell Williams, 52, of Petersburg, organized and led a conspiracy to defraud several banks by stealing business checks from the mail and using those checks as exemplars to create counterfeit checks that he then recruited homeless individuals to cash. Williams undertook this crime just four months after completing a 10-year federal prison sentence for a nearly identical scheme. Over the course of six months, Williams stole business checks from the mail in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He then recruited at least eight homeless individuals to cash at least 66 counterfeit checks totaling over $57,000 at financial institutions in Virginia and Pennsylvania. To recruit and retain these people, Williams rented them hotel rooms and supplied them with heroin. After successfully concealing these crimes from his federal probation officer, Williams absconded from supervision after he was charged with an unrelated state offense. Williams remained a federal fugitive until he was arrested driving two homeless check cashers to banks in October 2019. When arrested, Williams had 30 counterfeit checks purportedly drawn on five different business accounts totaling over $26,000.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin G. Cooke prosecuted the case.