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Bond-claim attorney pleads guilty to fraud

Saleh Stevens, 41, of Owings Mills, pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud in connection with a scheme to embezzle over $3.1 million from his employer, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein and FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt announced.

According to the signed plea agreement in U.S. District Court, Stevens worked as a bond-claim attorney for an insurance company in Towson between September 2011 and November 2013. Stevens admitted that, beginning in December 2011, he directed outside CPA firms to issue checks on surety accounts to bank accounts controlled by Stevens, his friends or family members; and, that some of the money went to buy a Maserati, a Mercedes and a yacht and to fund a NASCAR racing team. Stevens has agreed to make full restitution to his former employer and pay additional taxes, interest and penalties. He also faces a maximum 20-year term and a fine of $250,000.  Judge J. Frederick Motz scheduled sentencing for Nov. 12.

The prosecution stems from President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force,  which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes, Rosenstein’s office said in a statement. Rosenstein praised the FBI for its investigation and thanked AUSA Gregory R. Bockin, who is prosecuting the case.