Duane McKinney, 36, Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 150 months in prison on charges of fraud, theft, and monetary transactions.
McKinney was found guilty on Thursday, April 17, 2008, of four counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, three counts of First Degree Theft, and two counts of monetary transactions. He was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable Judge Reggie B. Walton to 150 months on the wire and mail fraud counts, 120 months (to be served concurrently) on the monetary transaction counts, and 60 months (to be served concurrently) on the D.C. theft counts. Judge Walton also ordered the defendant to pay $912,630.75 in restitution and to forfeit to the United States three luxury vehicles and two real properties; the court also ordered two money judgments in the amounts of $770,872 and $59,000.
A co-defendant, Joe D. Liles, Upper Marlboro, pleaded guilty on January 16, 2008, to a D.C. charge of false statements. Judge Walton sentenced Liles on Tuesday, January 6, 2009, to 180 days, execution of sentence suspended, three years probation, and to pay restitution of $691,587.
The government’s evidence at trial established that Duane McKinney obtained title to about $1 million worth of D.C. and Maryland properties through forged deeds, that is, deeds which purported to be signed by the owners transferring the properties to McKinney or his shell business. In fact, the deeds were not signed by the owners; the vast majority of the owners were deceased at the time of the forged and false deeds. McKinney was assisted by Joe D. Liles, who would sign his name to these false deeds as the notary falsely stating that he saw the owner sign the deeds as grantor and that the owner personally appeared before him. Once the deeds were notarized, McKinney would then sell the properties as if they belonged to him or his business and would use the money for himself. Some of those who purchased the homes lost all of their purchase money; others whose families owned the homes for generations were required to file suit against McKinney to regain their properties.
In announcing the results of this prosecution, U.S. Attorney Taylor, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Persichini, IRS Special Agent in Charge Martin, and DISB Commissioner Hampton commended Special Agents Kelly Bender, FBI, and Ronald D. Williams, IRS, and Annette D. Beresford, formerly a fraud investigator with the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking. They also noted the assistance of Special Agents Brian Smith (FBI), Lori Garner (IRS), Cindy Buskey (DEA), Aaron Ybarra (ATF), and Deena P. Wilson (Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General) and Arlington County Police Department members James Daniel and Steven Meinke. In addition, they commended paralegal specialists Melanie Howard and Jeanne Latimore-Brown, legal assistant April Peeler, Assistant U.S. Attorneys William R. Cowden, Diane Lucas, Judith A. Kidwell, former Assistant U.S. Attorney James Flood, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham, who prosecuted the case.