BaltimoreMaryland – Duane G. Larmore, 47, of Salisbury, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft in connection with the theft of more than $1.8 million from Shore Appliance Connection, where Larmore worked.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
According to his plea agreement, from mid-September 2016 to approximately March 2020, Larmore conspired with others to steal more than $1.8 million from a Salisbury, Maryland company, Shore Appliance Connection, owned and operated by owner #1 and owner #2, who sold appliances as well as mattresses and bedding. Larmore was an employee of Shore Appliance whose duties included maintaining the company’s books and records.
Specifically, Larmore and his co-conspirators stole more than $1 million from Shore Appliance to use for their own purposes, including making investments and paying business expenses for the co-conspirator’s business, at the without the knowledge and consent of the owners of Shore Appliance. For example, Larmore has invested in the following: in 2016, a $100,000 investment with TH; a $95,000 investment with GenFinance II, PLC, London, UK, which then required an additional $300,000 and then additional funds for bonding and overseas travel; in 2018, an investment via WS of $35,000 and an investment via JB of $50,000; and in 2019 – 2020, investments and expenditures via IP and EP-S. to obtain US currency allegedly returned to the United States from overseas humanitarian aid projects and other similar investments. The charges included wire transfers from Shore Appliance’s account to a co-conspirator’s business account and from there to banks in the UK and Hong Kong. No investment has paid any return to schemers.
To conceal the amount of money that had been withdrawn from Shore Appliance and to obtain cash, Larmore used the owners’ identities to enter into factoring contracts. Factoring is one way businesses, like Shore Appliance, can get cash quickly by leveraging accounts receivable. As detailed in the plea agreement, the factoring contracts allegedly between Shore Appliance and various factoring companies, provided for cash deposits in Shore Appliance’s bank accounts, but encumbered Shore Appliance’s accounts receivable and demanded payments and interest of more than $725,000. Additionally, Larmore used his position of trust with Shore Appliance and his signing authority over his bank accounts to draw on Shore Appliance’s lines of credit with two separate financial institutions to obtain an additional $200,000 in cash to conceal its use of Shore Appliance funds.
To secure contracts with factoring companies for Shore Appliance, Larmore used his own email address and cell phone number with factors, but identified that email address and cell phone number as belonging to the owner #1. Larmore also allegedly provided mail carriers with details about the owners’ identities, including dates of birth, social security numbers and Maryland driver’s licenses, without their permission.
To conceal the fact that the owners were unaware of and did not approve of the factoring contracts, the owners’ signatures were forged and the fraudulent signatures were witnessed or notarized by the co-conspirator; and Larmore and an employee of his co-conspirator impersonated the owners during telephone conversations with representatives of the factoring companies. Finally, when the co-conspirator’s business was in financial difficulty, at the request of the co-conspirator, Larmore provided funds from Shore Appliance to his co-conspirator’s businesses.
In total, Larmore paid $739,295.28 of Shore Appliance funds, without the knowledge of executives and owners or their consent, to invest in fraudulent schemes that never repaid any money. Larmore caused an additional loss of $171,548.67 by transferring funds to his co-conspirator or the co-conspirator’s businesses. Larmore caused Shore Appliance to lose an additional $731,250.07 in fees and other payments to factors and factoring brokers. Larmore also forced Shore Appliance to draw on its bank lines of credit and pay additional interest to those banks in the amount of $208,395. Thus, Shore Appliance’s factoring arrangements and line of credit advances caused Shore Appliance to lose $939,645 in actual funds. However, Shore Appliance as of March 2020 still owed factors nearly $270,000. For the entire Larmore line, actual cash losses for Shore Appliance totaled $1,850,488.94 and expected losses totaled $2,137,674.74.
As part of his plea agreement, Larmore will be required to pay compensation for the total amount of the victims’ losses, which the parties say is $1,850,488.94.
Larmore faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy and a mandatory two-year federal prison sentence, consecutive to any other sentence handed down, for aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has sentenced July 29, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron praised the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Joyce K. McDonald, who is prosecuting the federal case.
For more information about the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and the resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md /community-outreach. For more information on resources available to report fraud, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/report-fraud.
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