Financial institutions

NC man pleads guilty to bank fraud scheme and hits six financial institutions

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WILMINGTON, NC (News Release) – A Cameron man pleaded guilty in federal court today to a bank fraud charge stemming from a scheme to defraud financial institutions in the Eastern District of North Carolina and elsewhere.

According to court documents and information presented in court, Edward Wheeler is a staff sergeant assigned to Pope Army Airfield.

From January 2019 to September 2021, Wheeler defrauded several financial institutions by filing account fraud claims that were themselves fraudulent.

To execute the scheme, Wheeler opened bank accounts and made financial transactions for his personal benefit.

The transactions included: EFT and wire transfers to accounts Wheeler held with other banks; cryptocurrency purchases; purchases of gold and other precious metals, and purchases of goods on Amazon and Ebay.

After the transactions were completed, Wheeler filed fraud claims with the banks in which Wheeler falsely stated that the transactions were unauthorized, knowing that he had made the transactions himself and for his own benefit.

Through the filing of fraud claims, Wheeler tricked banks into reimbursing his accounts with interim credits for the amount of the claimed loss.

After the accounts were paid off, Wheeler quickly transferred the funds to other accounts so that the money could not be recovered by the victim banks.

Wheeler performed or attempted to perform the scheme against at least six financial institutions.

Wheeler pleaded guilty to bank fraud and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison when he was convicted during the August 2022 term.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement.

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service and United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations are investigating the case, and Assistant United States Attorney Toby Lathan is prosecuting the case.