In U.S. Liberian Sentenced to 27 Months For Bank Fraud

Flash Back: Man in handcuff on his way to prison

WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Mark Clark, 45, of Liberia, was sentenced today to 27 months in prison by the Honorable Maryellen Noreika, U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware.  Clark had pled guilty in October 2020 to one count of bank fraud.

According to court documents, Clark opened personal and business bank accounts at numerous financial institutions in his own name and in the name of other individuals, including his own deceased relatives, for the purpose of receiving fraudulently obtained wire transfers from unwitting victims.  Once the victims’ money hit Clark’s accounts, he would convert a portion of it for his own use and distribute the rest to others involved in the fraudulent schemes, including to individuals in Ghana.

Clark received over $250,000 in fraudulently obtained funds between July 2017 and August 2018.  The victims tricked into sending money to Clark’s accounts included five individuals who were victimized through Internet-based romance fraud.  Each victim was contacted online by a fraudster who gained the victims’ confidence by purporting to be in an “online relationship” with the victim and convincing the victims to send money through trickery.  A common ruse involved the fraudster purporting to be an American servicemember stationed overseas in need of financial assistance to return home.

Clark also received fraudulently obtained funds from corporate and government victims.  Clark received two fraudulent deposits from the United States Social Security Administration (“SSA”) after fraudsters compromised the social security numbers of two victims and directed the SSA to send money to Clark instead of the intended beneficiaries.   And he received one fraudulent deposit from a life insurance company after computer hackers compromised the company’s computer systems and directed the company to send Clark an insurance disbursement intended for somebody else.

U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “Internet-based fraud scams are a nationwide problem that frequently targets the most vulnerable members of our society.  These scams, which often involve sophisticated groups of individuals all over the world, cannot succeed without the involvement of individuals like Clark who agree to receive the illicit proceeds and further distribute the proceeds to others participating in the fraud.  My office will continue to prosecute those who engage in these fraud schemes in any capacity.”

“Mr. Clark not only deceived vulnerable individuals, but also engaged in multiple schemes to defraud the Government,” said Jennifer C. Boone, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “We’re sending a clear message to the criminals who orchestrate these schemes: We’ll come after you, no matter where you are. And to the public, we’ll keep doing whatever we can to protect you.”

In addition to the prison term, Judge Noreika ordered that Clark pay restitution in the amount of $85,779, as well as a 3-year period of supervised release.

This case was investigated by FBI-Baltimore Division’s Wilmington Resident Agency with assistance from the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and the Delaware State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jesse S. Wenger.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-75.

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