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South Carolina man sentenced to 9 years in prison for series of fraud schemes

South Carolina man sentenced to 9 years in prison for series of fraud schemes
A 36-year-old South Carolina man has been sentenced to nine years imprisonment for conducting numerous fraudulent schemes, including defrauding the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and operating a Ponzi scheme in involving investments in the operation of a commercial trucking business.

CHARLESTON, S.C. –– A South Carolina man has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release, for wire fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud and health care fraud schemes, according to Acting U.S. Attorney M. Rhett Dehart.

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Cameron Banks, aka “Reggie Staggers” and “Roy Hamilton,” 36, of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, operated several fraudulent schemes, including submitting falsified requests to the U.S. Department of Transportation in order to operate commercial vehicles and operating a fraudulent truck-leasing scheme.

Evidence presented to the court established that Banks began these schemes in 2013, when he submitted a falsified loan application to obtain a 2014 Bentley Sedan for $212,034.

Next, while employed by a dentist, Dr. Cornelius Beck, Banks ran a loan program in which he stole Beck’s identity and submitted falsified loan applications on behalf of patients to obtain dental work. To obtain these loans, Banks created fraudulent loan documents using Beck’s forged signature. While the funds were supposed to be used for dental procedures, few people received any dental work; instead, Banks transferred most of the funds into his personal bank accounts for his own use.

Further evidence outlined another fraudulent scheme, beginning in 2015 and continuing into 2018, in which Banks submitted requests to the U.S. Department of Transportation to receive numbers to operate commercial vehicles. The requests contained false information and withheld information Banks was required to disclose, namely his relationship with other entities licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), to avoid out-of-service orders that FMCSA placed on DOT numbers he operated.

On each occasion, Banks failed to disclose any relationship with other entities licensed by FMCSA during the previous three years while knowing he had applied for and received DOT numbers for three other companies.

While Banks was on bond for the frauds outlined above, investigators uncovered a third fraud, in which Banks operated a Ponzi scheme. Investors believed they were investing in the operation of commercial trucking businesses. Under the lease agreements, Banks would provide the truck, the driver, and the insurance; in exchange, investors were promised a majority of the profits. In reality, Banks spent the investment funds on personal expenses including car leases, jewelry and travel. Banks mailed investors checks that represented a portion of the funds to which they were entitled and created false expense documents to explain the lack of profits. There were at least 32 victims of this scheme, many of whom experienced substantial financial hardship after investing their life savings.

Banks has prior convictions for forgery, fraudulent checks, bank fraud, financial identity fraud, financial transaction card theft, tax evasion and numerous instances of probation violations.

Banks was indicted March 27, 2018. On Aug. 26, 2019, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Charleston, South Carolina, to the falsification of records in federal investigations with intent to impede, obstruct and influence the FMCSA’s process of investigation and proper administration and to mail fraud. On May 25, 2021, U.S. District Judge David Norton sentenced Banks to 108 months (nine years) of imprisonment, followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States DOT’s Office of the Inspector General, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Limehouse and Jason Peavy prosecuted the case.

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