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Elkridge firm owner pleads guilty to over $2.5 million in wire fraud

An Elkridge management firm owner pleaded guilty to wire fraud Wednesday after stealing more than $2.5 million from at least 51 of his homeowner and condominium associations clients.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, William Kyndall Francis, 39, is the owner and operator of Legacy Investment and Management Inc. and Legacy Investment and Management, LLC in Columbia. Both management firms mainly worked with homeowner and condominium associations throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia, the U.S. attorney's office reported, in exchange for a monthly fee.

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One of the firm's services included managing the homeowners associations' reserve funds that were usually held in savings or money market accounts. All accounts were then used to cover long-term and unexpected capital expenses.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI Baltimore Field Office announced Francis' guilty plea, stating that Francis created and gave homeowners association representatives false bank statements, which inaccurately reported that their reserve funds were intact and earning returns from October 2011 to August 2012.

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Francis proceeded to use the money for personal and business expenditures, including $7,165.70 for dog grooming service Dogtopia; $2,339 to Delicate Touch Nails salon; $8,244.42 to the Washington Wizards; $1,000.01 to adult entertainment club Bare Exposure and $3,848.67 to Pure Gold; $2,088.50 to A Platinum Plus Limousines; $3,700 to Shadow Room night club; as well as thousands of dollars for clothing, liquor, restaurant meals, groceries and other living expenses, according to the plea agreement.

An additional $40,025.07 was used for payroll for Legacy Inc. employees and an AT&T payment, the plea agreement states. With a total loss of more than $2.5 million, Francis agreed to the entry of a money judgment in court, forfeiting that amount.

The President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force played a large part in the investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported.

Francis is tentatively scheduled for sentencing in September, facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for wire fraud.

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