Imprisoned local developer Billy G. Jefferson Jr. is staring down a heftier slate of criminal charges.
A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted the Richmond landlord on three new felony charges related to an alleged scheme to hoard cash and flee the country using fake identification prior to his December guilty plea for tax credit fraud.
The new charges include one count each of obstruction of an official proceeding, unlawful transfer of a false identification document and aggravated identity theft. A trial date is set for Aug. 18, and prosecutors said in court filings on Wednesday they expect Jefferson will fight the new charges. They carry maximum sentences of 20, 15 and 2 years respectively.
“In light of recent interactions with the defense, the United States is confident that Jefferson will proceed to trial on these charges,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in the filings.
Jefferson, 52, is represented in his criminal proceedings by attorneys Chuck James of Williams Mullen and John Martin of Hunton & Williams. Both declined to comment on the indictment.
The new charges stem from an alleged tale brought to light by prosecutors last month of Vegas high rolling, money laundering and cash hoarding leading up to Jefferson’s initial plea date.
The first count, the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, is based on the prosecution’s claim that Jefferson frittered away and hid assets that could have been used to satisfy a $12.9 million restitution requirement included in his plea agreement.
The indictment says Jefferson withdrew $675,000 in 670 transactions between July and February 2014 through ATM withdrawals, over-the-counter withdrawals and checks made out to “cash.” Prosecutors also say Jefferson deposited $2.1 million in accounts at a Las Vegas casino and retrieved that money during Vegas trips in November and December of last year.
Jefferson allegedly told an IRS agent that he gambled away and spent all of the Las Vegas money and used the ATM and cash withdrawals to pay household bills. But according to the indictment, records at the Aria Resort and Casino show that Jefferson lost only $437,000 of the money he deposited. The records further show that Jefferson redeemed chips for $397,765 and took $383,961 in cash from sports book winnings.
The second pair of charges in the indictment is related to Jefferson’s alleged attempt to flee the country on a one-way charter flight to England booked using his brother’s identity.
Prosecutors say Jefferson sent a fake Arkansas driver’s license to representatives from Aircraft Management Group for a flight to Cranfield, England. In an April 11 filing, prosecutors said Jefferson canceled the $75,000 flight just hours before it was scheduled to take off after he was told the day before that customs officials would board the plane to inspect his passport.
Jefferson’s brother allegedly found the fake Arkansas ID and a number of others at Jefferson’s Monument Avenue home in February. Prosecutors have also filed in federal court photos of a Wyoming driver’s license, Costco card and library card they allege Jefferson fraudulently produced. Those IDs had Jefferson’s own face but his brother’s personal information.
Monday’s indictment formalizes claims made on April 11 in which prosecutors alleged that Jefferson’s actions had violated terms of his plea agreement. They’ve argued he should now face the 20-year statutory maximum for his initial set of charges instead of the 6 1/2 years called for in the initial plea.
A hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon to hear requests from both the prosecution and the defense asking the court to find the other side in violation of the plea agreement. That hearing was rescheduled for June 11 after a judge granted the prosecution’s request for a continuance Wednesday over an objection from Jefferson’s defense team.
Jefferson was also scheduled to be sentenced Friday on the first set of charges. That date has also been pushed back and has not yet been rescheduled.
Jefferson is being held at Pamunkey Regional Jail. He has been in custody since February, when he was arrested by U.S. marshals for allegedly violating his bond agreement.