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Fairbanks man indicted on federal fraud charges

Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A federal grand jury has indicted a Fairbanks man on 45 counts, including fraud and money laundering, for allegedly receiving Veterans Administration checks intended for his mother after she had died.

Donald Louis Hymes, 67, is accused of collecting more than $63,000 by claiming his mother was alive and living in his Fairbanks home and eligible to receive the checks. Hymes' mother died in 1990.

Hymes ''used the proceeds to his gain in further financial transactions,'' according to a news release from the United States Attorney's Office in Anchorage.

A grand jury found enough evidence to formally charge Hymes with 24 counts of mail fraud, 13 counts of theft, seven counts of money laundering and one count of contempt of court. The contempt of court charge refers to Hymes' refusal to provide handwriting samples to the grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Hymes has been arraigned on the charges and is on pretrial release, said Steve Cooper, assistant U.S. attorney in Fairbanks.

Cooper said that Hymes' indictment alleges he received the checks from December 1991 through October 1998, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

However, Cooper said, the government can charge Hymes only for the checks he's accused of receiving since December 1997 because of statute limitations.

Cooper would not comment on how Hymes converted the checks to his own financial gain, saying he could divulge only what's charged in the indictment.

If convicted, Hymes faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each of the 24 mail fraud counts, one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each of the 13 theft counts and 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for each of the seven money laundering counts.

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