CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced to prison three South Carolina men for a scheme that defrauded Lowe’s of more than $450,000, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney King is joined in making this announcement by Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in North Carolina and South Carolina, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.
Judge Cogburn ordered Bobby Cherry, 58, of Manning, South Carolina, to serve 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Russell Leroy Calvin, 43, of Sumter, South Carolina, was ordered to serve 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and Michael Marcel Montgomery, 48, also of Sumter, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In addition to the prison terms imposed, the defendants were ordered to pay more than $450,000 jointly and severally as restitution. All three defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to filed documents and today’s sentencing hearings, from August 2019 to March 2020, Cherry, Calvin and Montgomery engaged in a conspiracy to defraud Lowe’s stores in the southeastern United States. The defendants and other co-conspirators created business accounts for fraudulent landscaping and home improvement companies at Lowe’s stores, passed fictitious and worthless checks to fund the fraudulent accounts, and then purchased expensive landscaping equipment, such as zero turn mowers, and other items using the account funds. In total, during the course of the scheme, the co-conspirators opened more than 30 such fraudulent business accounts which they used to obtain more than $450,000 in fraudulently purchased goods. During the scheme, the three defendants made purchases at local stores in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union, Lincoln, Cleveland, and Iredell Counties in North Carolina, as well as stores in South Carolina and Georgia.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked HSI and CMPD for their investigation of the case.
Assistant United States Attorney William Bozin, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.