The local electrician of record for the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD), Calvin Walker, was recently indicted on 37-counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transfer of funds by fraud, fraud in connection with organizations which receive federal funds, money laundering. The indictment also notifies Mr. Walker that the government is seeking criminal forfeiture of funds equalling $3.7 million.

The indictment states that “from . . . September 2008 to December 2010 . . . Walker knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and to deceive the [BISD] by the submission of false and fraudulent invoices for electrical supplies and materials never purchased.” Mr. Walker would allegedly furnish invoices to the BISD for amounts well over the negotiated 10% mark-up the two parties agreed to pursuant to their contract. Accordingly the indictment further states that “as a result of said scheme and artifice to defraud, Calvin Gary Walker, defendant, received approximately $3,700,000 or more in funds from BISD in excess of the actual costs incurred and the related ten percent mark-up, causing a loss to BISD of the same amount.”

Mr. Walker’s alleged conduct can earn him over 20 years in prison according to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Although there are 37 charges against Mr. Walker, most of those charges will be grouped together as “closely related counts” for sentencing purposes. Nonetheless, the allegations made in the indictment are serious and Mr. Walker faces a potentially life changing trial or plea agreement.

The criminal laws governing economic activity have gotten so broad that they are no longer limited to the conduct of “white collar” defendants. It is all too common that the conduct of “blue collar” individuals get caught in the crosshairs of a federal prosecutor. Any individual, blue or white collar, charged with a white collar crime should hire a white collar criminal defense attorney. Unlike traditional criminal cases where it is often clear that a crime of some sort has been committed, a white collar criminal case is won by convincing the the court or jury that no crime was ever committed. Defeating the charge isn’t so much throwing doubt as to the identity of the culprit as much as it is convincing the jury that the economic activity was actually non-criminal.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in Federal Criminal Defense matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.

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