Austin Davidson, 32, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty yesterday to throwing dozens of lavish house parties funded by a counterfeit business check scheme.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and David E. Beach, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Liam O’Grady.
Davidson pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of two years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 16, 2012.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Davidson admitted to leading a conspiracy to make and use counterfeit checks to obtain goods and services from numerous retail stores and individuals in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Posing as an employee of The Carlyle Group and JPMorgan Chase, Davidson used these counterfeit checks to rent numerous properties from homeowners in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Davidson and his co-conspirators would use these rental properties to throw parties, at which they would provide thousands of dollars worth of food that also was purchased using counterfeit checks. By the time the counterfeit checks were rejected, Davidson and his co-conspirators consumed the catered food and often vacated the properties. In some instances, Davidson and his co-conspirators broke into desks and closets containing personal items belonging to the owners of the residences. They stole property from the homeowners, including personal checks they later used to pay for services and merchandise. Davidson defrauded victims of at least $250,000.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Department, Berwyn Heights Police Department, Leesburg Police Department, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Capitol Police. Assistant United States Attorney Chad Golder is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
This remains an ongoing investigation. Individuals who may have additional information regarding this matter should contact the U.S. Secret Service at 202 406-8800.