Mebane man convicted of $20M fraud in federal court

A Mebane man is scheduled to be sentenced later this year after he pleaded guilty in federal court this spring to a $20 million leasing fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

An announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office described the perpetrator, Dan Raymond, as a “Mebane man” and the owner/operator of multiple computer equipment supply companies that “bilked financiers for millions in a scheme that lasted years. An investigation by the FBI revealed that Raymond had brokered fraudulent equipment leasing deals valued at more than $20 million, involving more than two dozen victims. He had been living in Cary at one time and carried out the fraud scheme between March 2016 and January 2022, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Documents on file with the Secretary of State’s office list Raymond’s principal office address as 1024 Mebane Oaks Road in Mebane, which corresponds with the address for the Wrap, Pack & Ship store in the Mebane Oaks Village shopping center.

Raymond pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, for which he faces up to 20 years in prison.

The investigation revealed that Raymond had carried out a scheme to defraud finance companies that provided financing to small and mid-sized businesses in order to lease computer equipment and servers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District. The finance companies held the title to the equipment, which was then leased to the businesses.

The U.S. Attorney’s office characterized the arrangements as a complicated fraud scheme in which the finance companies entered into agreements with brokers like Raymond, who in exchange for a fee, would arrange for the purchase and delivery of the equipment to businesses.

The investigation ultimately revealed that “Raymond enticed customers by offering lease deals that included large cash rebates and long-term payback options,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office explained this spring at the conclusion of a hearing before U.S. District Court judge Terrence W. Boyle. “Raymond falsely assured customers that this was a common and legitimate practice, and that they could sell the computer equipment if they chose to.” The cash rebates and payback options were not known or approved by the finance companies, according to federal investigators.

Once the equipment leases were signed and approved by finance companies, Raymond instructed his customers “to falsify documents” stating that the products had been delivered and were working properly, “when, in fact, no equipment had been delivered or installed,” the FBI concluded. Once the finance companies paid Raymond his fee for brokering the deals, Raymond then wired “rebates” to his customers from his business checking account, based on the FBI’s findings.

“Raymond sometimes did ship computer equipment to the customers,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office elaborated. “However, whereas the leases called for name brand computer servers and hardware valued between $30,000 [and] $100,000, Raymond sent generic parts valued at $50 [to] $3,500.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Raymond carried out the fraud under multiple business entities that included: Integrity IT Solutions; Logos Consulting; Lendberry Corp.; US Server Supply; Online Concepts, Inc.; Referral Marketing Services; Sandriver Group, Inc.; Business Repair Consultants; and Buyback Funders, LLC.

“The Research Triangle is a hub for tech and innovation,” said Michael Easley, Jr., who is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District and the son of former Democratic N.C. Gov. Mike Easley. “We are ramping up white collar fraud enforcement to ensure fraudsters who take advantage of our booming tech sector are held accountable.”