From The Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — Two former Birmingham Chick-fil-A employees were indicted on Tuesday, April 27, on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.
Larry James Black, Jr., 37, of Center Point, and Joshua Daniell Powell, 40, of Moody, are accused of devising and implementing a scheme to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars in customer payments between April 2018 and January 2020. Prosecutors said Black and Powell used fraudulent email and digital payment accounts to trick customers and divert payments for catering orders and other restaurant sales to bank accounts under their personal control.
Black is the former Director of Hospitality and Powell is the former Manager of the Chick-fil-A Five Points.
“Before and during this period, Black is also alleged to have made a series of fraudulent representations to financial institutions,” said Prim F. Escalona, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. “In January 2020, for example, Black applied for a mortgage loan. In connection with his loan application, Black forged payroll records and made misrepresentations regarding his income from the Chick-fil-A franchise. Black also provided a fictitious social security number to banks and credit unions where he held accounts. Ultimately, proceeds from the scheme to defraud Chick-fil-A Five Points were deposited into accounts at these same financial institutions. “
If convicted, Black and Powell face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud. Black also faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for bank fraud, and a maximum of five years in prison for misuse of a social security number.
The U.S. Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Canter is prosecuting.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.