Birmingham man sentenced for fraud against fallen Huntsville Police Officer’s memorial fund

Fraud suspect
Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham man was sentenced Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to fraud on the memorial fund set up to provide aid to the family of fallen Huntsville Police officer Billy Clardy.

Devonte Lemond Hammonds, 28, pleaded guilty in February to one count of access device fraud and one count of wire fraud. Hammonds was sentenced to 37 months in prison for access device fraud and wire fraud.

Prosecutors said in December 2019, Hammonds devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain money from the Billy Clardy Memorial Fund. Clardy was a Huntsville Police officer killed in the line of duty in 2019.

After Officer Clardy’s death, a memorial fund was established to collect contributions and donations for his family.

According to the plea agreement, Hammonds used the identity of another person to open a bank account and transfer funds from the Billy Clardy Memorial Fund bank account to the fictitious account for his own use.

Prosecutors said Hammonds also devised a scheme to defraud customers of the U.S. Postal Service. Investigators said Hammonds used the U.S. Postal Service website to reroute mail from numerous customers to addresses in Birmingham that he could access, used the rerouted mail to obtain customers’ personal information, and used that information to pay bills, make purchases, and open new accounts.

“This sentence sends a strong message that frauds like this will be prosecuted and punished severely,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said. “This defendant exploited a tragedy and stole money intended for the family of an officer killed in the line of duty. Today justice was served for the victims of this egregious crime.”

“Today’s sentencing revealed that what Devonte Hammonds thought was an easy fraud scheme turned out to be an even easier trip to federal prison,” Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, Houston Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service said. “His mail fraud scheme was insidious, and it is hoped that justice being served today will help bring closure for those he affected.”

“Hammonds stole from the family of a fallen hero and has now been sentenced for his despicable crimes,” FBI SAC Sharp said. “I commend the tireless efforts of our special agents and law enforcement partners who worked jointly to bring this case to justice.”

The FBI and USPIS investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.B. Ward and Michael Pillsbury are prosecuting.

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