By Associated Press - Saturday, August 29, 2020

NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) - A man just released from incarceration has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for launching a bank fraud scheme to buy cars from North Carolina dealerships, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release that Jamal Watson, 42, had just finished serving 10 years in prison for distribution of heroin and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Prosecutors said Watson, his wife and a third person applied for loans to purchase 20 vehicles over one year. At first, Watson used his own Social Security number, but provided false employment information. After the first two vehicles were repossessed for lack of payment, prosecutors said Watson and his wife provided fake Social Security numbers and fictitious employment information.

To keep banks from finding the fraudulently obtained vehicles, Watson also provided a fake North Carolina driver’s license bearing a false Durham address, according to prosecutors.

In addition to his sentence, the court ordered Watson to pay restitution to the victims and forfeit the nearly $30,000 loan he obtained to purchase a Maserati from a Charlotte dealership.

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