Metro Denver Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Wire Fraud in Connection with Scheme to Defraud Moneygram

DENVER (LAWFUEL) – Patrick Hamilton, age 41, of Denver, was sentenced Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel to serve 33 months in federal prison for wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service announced. Hamilton was also ordered by Chief Judge Daniel to pay restitution of approximately $624,779 to MoneyGram, the victim of the fraud in this case. The defendant, who appeared in custody, was remanded.

Patrick Hamilton was charged by Criminal Complaint on April 28, 2008. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on May 20, 2008. He pled guilty before Chief Judge Daniel on February 13, 2009. He was sentenced on Wednesday, May 13, 2009.

MoneyGram International, Inc., is a Minnesota based corporation which is in the business of transferring money on behalf of its customers. One way it does business is wiring funds on to persons or a business, designated by the originating customer. The company utilizes licensees or vendors to receive funds from a customer.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, from 2004 through April 2008, Hamilton, along with others, devised a scheme to obtain money by false and fraudulent pretenses from MoneyGram and its merchant vendors. Hamilton pretended to be a MoneyGram employee. As an employee, Hamilton told MoneyGram vendors that he needed them to “test” their system. He arranged for certain MoneyGram locations to send test wire transfers to other vendors.

Each time he was then given a wire transaction number, which he in turn provided to others, who would then respond to the vendor, present a genuine identification card, including the sender’s name, and pick up the money. He would later meet with the individuals to get the money. The test transactions were anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000 each. Hamilton would pay the individuals who picked up the money anywhere from $100 to $1200. He would keep the rest. In total there were over 200 fraudulent transactions totaling nearly $625,000.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

Hamilton was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Brown and James Hearty.

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