On June 6, 2012 the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia announced that Lionel Jason Haynes was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for bank fraud (18 U.S.C. 1344) and aggravated identity theft (18 U.S.C. 1028A(c)). He was also ordered to pay $181,960 in restitution.

According to court documents and proceedings, Haynes, a former Navy sailor, executed a scheme to defraud Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) by victimizing young, impressionable sailors. Posing as a Chief Petty Officer, Navy SEAL or as a representative of the Navy’s Fleet and Family Services Center, Haynes would approach a sailor on Navy Base Norfolk and offer assistance to help him purchase a car.

He would ask for their personal identifying information and bank account information under the pretense of needing it to determine pre-approval for an auto loan. Once he received this information, he accessed their NFCU bank account, requested an auto loan, and changed the mailing address to an address to which he had access. He received the check, wrote down the fraudulent vehicle information, forged their name, and had an associate (the purported seller) cash the check. He victimized 14 different sailors in this manner.

In its sentencing memorandum the government requested 60 months’ imprisonment for bank fraud, plus 24 months for identity related fraud. Although the defense moved for a downward departure, it is apparent that no such departure was granted by the sentencing judge. Mr. Haynes was sentenced to exactly what was requested by the government and prescribed in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Unfortunately for Mr. Haynes his request to have his identity theft conviction run concurrently was denied, probably because the statute specifically prescribes the sentence to run consecutively. As such, instead of serving 5 years and 3 months in prison, he will serve 7 years and three months.

Not all was lost however. According to sentencing documents the judge did grant Mr. Hayne’s request to be placed in a prison near his family in New York and ordered him to continue his education while in prison. Court documents made it clear that Mr. Haynes was in college during the sentencing phase of the case.

This case was investigated by the Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia.

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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