A Maryland entrepreneur whose nonprofit group funded the opening of a West Baltimore church's computer center two weeks ago was indicted yesterday on 21 fraud counts totaling $32 million.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein called it one of the largest monetary theft cases in Maryland history.
Federal prosecutors say Alan Brian Fabian, 43, of Cockeysville took money from corporate investors and falsified purchases of computer equipment for his company, Strategic Partners International LLC, then diverted those funds to real estate purchases, jet travel and the establishment of his nonprofit organization, the Center for Management and Technology.
He later sold Strategic Partners International LLC and opened Strategic Partners International Inc. in Wyoming. By falsely representing the second company as a subsidiary of the first, he garnered investment funds from several companies, prosecutors said.
He also tried to force SPI Inc. into involuntary bankruptcy with the intention of defrauding creditors, prosecutors said.
Part of the diverted funds - $3.9 million - was used to form and operate the nonprofit Baltimore group that recently opened the cyber center in the basement of West Baltimore's Union Baptist Church, equipping it with flat-screen monitors and Dell personal computers.
"It's shocking to me," said Union Baptist's pastor, the Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr. The cyber center has been of great use to the community, Hathaway said, adding that he hopes the indictment would not affect it.
The government seeks to seize many of Fabian's assets, which include eight properties in North Carolina and Maryland, cash, a yacht, three vehicles and his interest in several companies. The government might auction the assets and return the proceeds to the investors who were victimized, Rosenstein said.
The defense is cooperating with the government in handing over business and personal documents, said Fabian's attorney, David Irwin.
"We're looking forward to getting this resolved," Irwin said, hinting that a plea bargain might be in the works.
Fabian's travel has been restricted, but he is permitted to visit relatives in North Carolina and carry on business operations until his September arraignment.
The proceedings are not expected to affect the work of Fabian's nonprofit organization, Irwin said.
"I told him it's one day at a time now," Irwin said. "He has to keep on doing the many good things he's done for the community, take care of his family and stay strong."
Fabian could be sentenced to five to 20 years in prison for each of the 21 counts, which include mail and bankruptcy fraud, money-laundering and perjury.