Convicted pension chief's accountant guilty of fraud


November 21, 2006|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,Sun Reporter

The former accountant for convicted pension manager Nathan A. Chapman Jr. pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in federal court yesterday, admitting he defrauded investors in an obesity treatment clinic.

According to his plea in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Wilkins McNair Jr., 49, of Ellicott City also failed to pay federal taxes, instead filing false tax returns in a separate scheme related to his Baltimore accounting firm. A message left at McNair's home last night was not immediately returned.

According to court papers, McNair took for his personal benefit about $1.3 million of the $1.55 million entrusted to his care by investors in the clinic. McNair also failed to pay to the Internal Revenue Service $566,940.51 in taxes between 1999 and 2005.

The maximum penalty for the most serious charge in the plea - wire fraud - is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Chapman was convicted more than two years ago of using state pension money to buy stock in his companies and prop up their value. When the companies' value plummeted, prosecutors said, the retirement system lost virtually all of that money.

A federal judge sentenced him to 7 1/2 years in prison, but he has remained free pending his appeal.

According to trial testimony and court records, McNair was the accountant for Chapman's company after it fired Arthur Andersen.

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