Bear resident fined nearly $2.5 million, sentenced to 46 months in prison in connection with billing scam

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A U.S. District Court Judge in Baltimore sentenced Thi Van Ho, age 51, of Bear, to 46 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy and interstate transportation of stolen property. Ho was also ordered to pay $ 2,478,069.16 in restitution.

According to the Baltimore U.S. Attorney’s office, from September 2015 to March 2019, Ho and four co-conspirators devised and executed a plan to defraud an undisclosed beauty product manufacturer by submitting invoices in the names of shell companies for services and products that were never actually provided to the company.

In September 2015, an individual identified as Co-conspirator 1, the Director of Planning, Logistics, and Control at the company, was tasked with arranging vendors to dispose of waste at two warehouses. He had total autonomy in the approval process and payment of invoices.

The former company executive, Ho, and three co-conspirators created the shell entities of MPC II, LLC, Marka Warehouse System, LLC., and SMNI, LLC. The co-conspirators registered the shell entities in their names, listed themselves as president or resident agent, and rented PO Boxes in different States, which served as the alleged business address for each of the shell companies.

Prosecutors said Ho admitted that the conspiracy cashed the fraudulently obtained checks the company issued to pay for the false invoices at check cashing facilities in Philadelphia. After the checks were cashed, the co-conspirators would divide the cash proceeds among themselves. Ho received roughly 53% of each check and used the remainder of his proceeds for personal expenses.

In sum, Ho and his co-conspirators the beauty company to issue approximately $2,527,234 for false and fraudulent services. Three of Ho’s co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner praised the FBI for their work in the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen O. Gavin, who prosecuted the case.

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