March 5, 2021

Alabama man pleads guilty for defrauding memorial fund set up for family of slain police officer

An Alabama man pleaded guilty to using someone else’s identity to gain access to memorial funds for a slain police officer.

Devonte Lemond Hammonds, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and one count of wire fraud in connection with money he stole from the Billy Clardy Memorial Fund,  federal prosecutors said Friday.

Clardy was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2019. The memorial fund was set up to collect donations to provide aid for his family.

According to the plea agreement, Hammonds used the identity of another person to open a bank account and transfer funds from memorial fund account to the fictitious account for his own use.

Prosecutors said Hammonds also devised a scheme to defraud customers of the U.S. Postal Service. Investigators said Hammonds used the U.S. Postal Service website to reroute mail from numerous customers to addresses in Birmingham that he could access, used the rerouted mail to obtain customers’ personal information, and used that information to pay bills, make purchases, and open new accounts.

The maximum penalty for access device fraud is ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for wire fraud affecting a financial institution is thirty years in prison and a $250,000 fine.