LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that TEKETA THOMPKINS, of Atlanta was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 48 months’ imprisonment for her role in a large-scale wire fraud and
money laundering scheme that defrauded the Government of Bermuda
out of nearly $2 million.
THOMPKINS was convicted of these
charges after a two-week jury trial in December 2006. According
to a superseding indictment (the “Indictment”) against THOMPKINS,
earlier charges against THOMPKINS and her co-defendant, HARRISON
ISAAC, JR., and the evidence presented at trial:
The Government of Bermuda maintained an account (the
“Bermuda Account”) at The Bank of New York located in New York,
New York, which it used to pay checks to vendors in United States
dollars. ISAAC, a Management Accountant in the Accountant
General’s Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Government
of Bermuda (the “Accountant General’s Department”), was
responsible for managing the Bermuda Account and tasked with
overseeing payments to vendors from that account.
In May 2003, ISAAC began making unauthorized wire
transfers from the Bermuda Account to accounts in the United
States and Bermuda. These unauthorized transfers occurred
between May 2003 and February 2004, and totaled approximately
$1,899,888. Of that amount, $1,442,033 was transferred to
accounts in the name of two businesses, All Brand New, Inc. (“All
Brand New”) and Simply Perfection, Inc. (“Simply Perfection”),
which were based in Atlanta and controlled by THOMPKINS.
THOMPKINS set up Simply Perfection as a shell company solely to
receive and launder the vast majority of the $1.4 million in
stolen money. Neither All Brand New nor Simply Perfection was a
vendor of products or services to the Bermudian Government or had
any right to these payments.
After THOMPKINS received the stolen funds, she
transferred a large portion of the money back to ISAAC, and also
withdrew substantial sums of cash in ATM withdrawals, spending
the money on shopping sprees, furniture, and rims and tires on a
vintage Chevrolet. THOMPKINS also often transferred money
between accounts she controlled, including personal bank accounts
and accounts in the name of All Brand New and Simply Perfection,
in an effort to hide the proceeds of the scheme from detection by
law enforcement. In addition, on March 17, 2004, THOMPKINS
attempted to smuggle approximately $30,000 in cash to ISAAC in
Bermuda; THOMPKINS secreted approximately $26,000 of this cash in
her undergarments in an effort to avoid detection.
In imposing sentence on THOMPKINS, United States
District Judge LAURA TAYLOR SWAIN emphasized the seriousness of
THOMPKINs’ conduct and the harm this scheme caused to the
Government of Bermuda. Judge SWAIN also ordered THOMPKINS to
forfeit the illegal proceeds and make restitution to the
Government of Bermuda, the details of which she deferred to a
hearing on September 18, 2007.
Mr. GARCIA praised the investigative efforts of the FBI
in this case.
THOMPKINS, 34, resides in Lizella, Georgia. Her codefendant,
HARRISON ISAAC, a Bermudian national, was sentenced on
August 25, 2006 to 55 months’ imprisonment for his role in the
scheme, and is currently serving his sentence.
This case is being prosecuted by the Major Crimes Unit
of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys
JONATHAN S. ABERNETHY and NICHOLAS S. GOLDIN are in charge of the