BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A federal judge today sentenced two former Chick-fil-A employees for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud their former employer, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Patrick M. Davis.
U.S. District Judge Madeline H. Haikala sentenced Larry James Black, Jr., 37, of Center Point to 30 months in prison. Black pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud in September 2021. Joshua Daniel Powell, 40, of Moody was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Powell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in June 2021. During the time period charged in the indictment, Black and Powell were both directors at the Chick-fil-A location in the Five Points South neighborhood of Birmingham.
According to the plea agreement, between April 2018 and January 2020, Black and Powell devised and implemented a scheme to divert $492,000 in customer payments away from Chick-fil-A Five Points and direct them instead to bank accounts under their control. Black and Powell used these accounts to receive customer credit card payments intended for Chick-fil-A Five Points. Many of these payments were for catering orders from large customers. To effectuate the scheme, Black and Powell used fraudulent email and digital payment accounts that imitated the look of official Chick-fil-A accounts. In addition to these fraudulent “Chick-fil-A” accounts, Black and Powell also utilized a personal email account belonging to Powell to intercept virtual credit card payments that were made on behalf of an additional customer.
In addition to conspiring to defraud Chick-Fil-A Five Points, Black acknowledged in his plea agreement that he provided a false social security number to various financial institutions and executed a scheme to defraud his mortgage lender. In January 2020, Black applied for a mortgage loan. In connection with his loan application, Black forged payroll records and made misrepresentations regarding his income from the Chick-fil-A franchise. As a result of these material misrepresentations, Black was able to secure a mortgage in the amount of $159,948.00 to finance the purchase of a home in Center Point, Alabama.
The U.S. Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Canter prosecuted the case.