April 14, 2017
By Bob Coleman
Editor, Fraud Friday
Fraud Friday — Banker who Wanted to become a Sports Agent and a Movie Producer, Guilty of Bribery
Rodney Dunn, 40, was a vice president and a bank loan officer for Maryland-based Harbor Bank
In 2009, Dunn met Darryl Clements, who he thought was a loan broker.
For some strange reason, Dunn thought it would be a good idea that if he received a telephone message where he did not recognize the caller’s name, he would text or telephone Clements with the caller’s information and permit Clements to return the telephone call posing as “Rodney Dunn, bank officer.”
Dunn believed he would obtain from Clements valuable contacts with professional athletes that would catapult his career change into sports agency. Clements also promised to pay Dunn for his assistance.
David Odom owned CityScope Productions, LLC, and was seeking financing to produce the movie “Season Tickets.” Clements created documents falsely stating that CityScope had permanent financing of $13 million for the movie from Bridge Capital and The Shah Group, and that the funds were held in escrow at a bank in Baltimore, where Dunn was employed.
In fact, there was no such financing, and there were no escrow funds held at the bank. Photoshopped documents further stated that CityScope needed a $2.5 million bridge loan to complete the financing for the movie. In order to carry out the fraud scheme, Clements created email accounts which appeared to belong to Dunn and The Shah Group, but which Clements actually controlled. In February 2011, Dunn purchased five cashiers’ checks from his employer bank, each for $20 and made payable to Clements. Clements then altered the checks so that they totaled $4 million, the payees were individuals and entities affiliated with the movie, and “The Shah Group,” was the remitter. Clements provided the altered checks to Odom/CityScope. Clements also fraudulently placed Dunn’s forged signature on escrow agreements and proof of funds statements, which Clements emailed to Odom, so that he could furnish those fraudulent documents to prospective lenders.
Dunn communicated by telephone with Clements when a prospective lender called Dunn at the bank to verify the funds in the escrow accounts, so that Clements could return the telephone call, pose as Dunn, and verify the existence of the escrow accounts and their balances. Odom sought financing from multiple lenders including an unsuccessful attempt thwarted by the prospective lender’s local counsel in Baltimore. Among other things, Clements created a fictitious bank statement for a purported escrow account which Odom admitted he sent to a prospective lender.
In a telephone call on May 9, 2011, Clements posed as Dunn and fraudulently verified the account numbers and balances of the phony escrow accounts to an official of a California company which specialized in providing bridge financing for movies (California finance company). On the same day, the California finance company loaned $2.5 million to CityScope and transmitted the funds by wire, specifying that the funds were to be used solely for movie expenses.
In early 2011, Odom’s house was sold in a foreclosure proceeding to the mortgage lender and Odom was faced with eviction. Odom admitted that he used the bridge loan funds to spend $821,000 to purchase his home back from the lender, approximately $60,000 to buy two cars, approximately $6,000 to take his family on “Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise” by Carnival Cruise, approximately $90,000 in transfers to family members, and another approximately $75,000 in personal expenses. Odom also paid some pre-production movie expenses.
Sentencing awaits all three.