VALDOSTA: Charles E. Peeler, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that on July 11, 2018, Senior United States District Court Judge Hugh Lawson sentenced Darius Hollis, age 25, of Quitman, Georgia, to 26 months to serve in federal prison and Leon Thomas, Jr., age 28, of Quitman, Georgia, to 24 months to serve in federal prison for their parts in a credit card and bank fraud scheme. Mr. Hollis was also sentenced to pay $130,168.84 in restitution to banks and individuals in Valdosta and Thomasville and national banks that were defrauded. Mr. Thomas was sentenced to pay $28,550.47, jointly with Mr. Hollis, in restitution to one of the out of state banks defrauded.
The investigation in this matter was initiated in September 2016, when the United States Secret Service in Albany, Georgia was contacted by the Louisville, Kentucky Police Department regarding fraudulent money transfers being debited from the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center’s bank account with Fifth Third Bank. The payments were being applied to a Capital One credit card and a Synchrony Bank Belt credit card. Mr. Hollis was the account holder of the Capital One card and Mr. Thomas was the account holder of the Belk card. The investigation revealed that 78 fraudulent payments, totaling more than $40,000, were made by wire transfer from the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center bank account.
The conspiracy also included fraud against financial institutions in South Georgia, including Thomasville National Bank and First Federal Savings and Loan in Valdosta, Georgia. Multiple credit cards were opened by Mr. Hollis under various individuals’ names, and nearly $90,000 in funds from business and individual bank accounts in Valdosta and Thomasville were fraudulently used to pay the amounts due on the credit card accounts.
A total of $130,168.84 in loss, the restitution amount ordered, is attributable to the scheme.
“Mr. Hollis and Mr. Thomas were clever enough to swindle these banks and their customers for a while, but they weren’t smart enough to indefinitely elude apprehension and punishment for their misdeeds,” said United States Attorney Peeler. “I commend the fine work done by our federal and local law enforcement for unravelling this greed-driven scheme and bringing these defendants to justice.”
This case was investigated by the United Stated Secret Service, the Thomas and Lowndes County, Georgia Sheriff’s Offices, and the Louisville, Kentucky Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. McCullers prosecuted the case for the United States.