Californian Eric Bullard accused of conspiring to launder proceeds of fraud schemes targeting a New Jersey law firm and SBA loans
NEWARK, New Jersey (STL.News) A California the man has been charged with laundering money from loans fraudulently obtained from the US Small Business Association and a business email compromise program targeting a law firm based in New Jersey, said Acting Prosecutor Rachael A. Honig.
Eric bullard, 59, from Los Angeles, California, is indicted by complaint of a count of conspiracy of money laundering. Bullard was taken into custody yesterday at California on an unrelated warrant for a violation of federal supervised liberty. Bullard is scheduled to appear by video conference before U.S. trial judge Alexander MacKinnon at 1:00 p.m. PDT.
According to the documents filed in this case and the statements made in court:
In June 2020, Victim 1 communicated via email with a law firm at New Jersey who was helping 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 purporting to send an email on behalf of the law firm instructed Victim 1 to wire approximately $ 560,000 to an escrow account under the name “Eric’s Commercial LLC”. Victim 1 transferred approximately $ 560,000 to a corporate bank account controlled by Bullard. Victim 1 did not intend to transfer the money to Bullard and sent the transfer to Bullard’s account, believing the transfer instructions were from the New Jersey law office.
Prior to receiving the $ 560,000 transfer, Eric’s Commercial LLC bank account had a statement period beginning balance of approximately $ 40. Shortly after the $ 560,000 was transferred to Eric’s Commercial LLC’s bank account, on the same day the wire transfer was posted to his account, approximately 10 cash withdrawals were made from the account for a total of $ 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 from the transfer of Victim 1 were made from Eric’s Commercial LLC bank account to other bank accounts, including an account controlled by a conspirator.
In addition to laundering the business email compromise proceeds, Bullard has also obtained and laundered funds from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Disaster Loan Program (EDIL). In July 2020, Bullard received in a corporate bank account he controlled $ 51,395 from an SBA EDIL loan to a pharmaceutical company with a location listed at Idaho and $ 143,100 of an SBA EDIL loan intended for a pharmacy business with a location listed in Colorado.
The money laundering conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $ 500,000 or double the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transfer, depending on the highest amount.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited the special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, 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 accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.