California man charged with conspiring to launder the proceeds of New Jersey law firm fraud schemes and SBA loans | USAO-NJ
NEWARK, NJ – California man has been charged with laundering money from fraudulently obtained US Small Business Association loans and a professional email compromise scheme that targeted a New Jersey-based law firm , said acting American lawyer Rachael A. Honig. .
Eric Bullard, 59, of Los Angeles, Calif., Is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to launder money. Bullard was taken into custody yesterday in California on an unrelated warrant for a federal release violation. Bullard is scheduled to appear by video conference before US Justice of the Peace Alexander MacKinnon at 1:00 p.m. PDT.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made to the court:
In June 2020, Victim 1 communicated by email with a New Jersey law firm that was assisting Victim 1, a resident of Bergen County, New Jersey, with a real estate transaction. One of the law firm’s email accounts was compromised and someone claiming to email on behalf of the law firm sent instructions to victim 1 to wire around $ 560,000 in an escrow account under the name of “Eric’s Commercial LLC”. Victim 1 transferred approximately $ 560,000 to a corporate bank account controlled by Bullard. Victim 1 did not intend the money to be transferred to Bullard and sent the transfer to Bullard’s account believing the transfer instructions were from the New Jersey law firm.
Prior to receiving the $ 560,000 wire transfer, Eric’s Commercial LLC’s bank account had a starting statement period balance of approximately $ 40. Shortly after the $ 560,000 was transferred to Eric’s Commercial LLC’s bank account, the same day the wire transfer was posted to his account, approximately 10 cash withdrawals were made from the account totaling $ 96,275. . Surveillance footage obtained from the bank shows Bullard entering the bank to make withdrawals from the account. On the same day, three large wire transfers originating from the transfer of Victim 1 were executed from Eric’s Commercial LLC’s bank account to other bank accounts, including an account controlled by a conspirator.
In addition to laundering the proceeds of commercial email compromise, Bullard has also obtained and laundered funds from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EDIL) program. In July 2020, Bullard received in a corporate bank account he controlled $ 51,395 from an SBA EDIL loan intended for a pharmacy company with a listed location in Idaho and $ 143,100 from an SBA EDIL loan intended to a drugstore company with a listed location in Colorado.
The money laundering conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $ 500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transfer. , whichever is greater.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited FBI special agents, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Jamie L. Hoxie of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are only charges, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.