LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two Little Rock men have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud after ordering cell phones through their employer, paying for them with the employer’s money, and selling the phones online. Daniel Burdick, 40, and Brian Lamb, 41, pleaded guilty on Friday before Chief United States District Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr. Cody Hiland, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock Field Office of the FBI, announced the guilty pleas.
Burdick and Lamb worked for the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), a North Little Rock company that assists in environmental cleanups. Part of Burdick’s and Lamb’s responsibilities at CTEH was ordering new phones for CTEH employees and subcontractors. The phones would be used during environmental spills and cleanups.
In November of 2017, CTEH discovered that Burdick and Lamb were ordering cell phones without CTEH authorization or knowledge. Once they received the phones, Burdick and Lamb sold the cell phones via the internet. At that time, Burdick had worked at CTEH for 10 years, and Lamb had worked there for six years.
Burdick and Lamb would ship the cell phones to customers and receive payment through Paypal and Western Union. Most of the phones were sent to a customer in Oregon, who shipped them to China. Burdick and Lamb completed 283 transactions from 2013 through 2017, and most transactions included more than one cell phone. CTEH fired Burdick and Lamb upon discovering the conduct, but they (and their insurance carrier, Continental Casualty Company), lost approximately $562,501 due to the scheme.
Conspiracy to commit wire fraud is punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick C. Harris.