USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union were three of nine financial institutions hit with a fake car loan scheme perpetrated by two conspirators. The fraudulent acts racked up more than $2.6 million in auto loans.
The scheme was committed from “at least” August 2014 through April 2018, according to court documents filed in May by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Ohio.
Albert Watson and Rassaun Johnson recruited consumers who were qualified for membership in eligibility-based financial institutions, like USAA and credit unions, to create and submit fraudulent loan applications when there was no actual transfer of a vehicle.
The conspirators would submit multiple fraudulent auto loan applications on a single vehicle with no intention that the vehicle’s ownership would transfer following the submission of the loan applications. Watson and Johnson were able to obtain loans as large as $40,000 and would typically inflate the sales price of actual vehicle sales to pocket the difference.
The scheme chalked up $2,680,423.26 million in loans, which the defendants will pay in restitution as a part of their pleas.
Though a sentencing date has not been set, the charges the defendants were convicted of hold a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and a maximum 20 years in prison for one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.