COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Florida man pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in a $223,000 money-laundering conspiracy -- part of an email hacking scheme with victims at Ft. Leonard Wood, according to federal prosecutors.
Franklin D. Huggins, 54, of Homosassa, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He admitted to being part of a wire fraud scheme from early 2017 to early 2019 that targeted Fort Leonard Wood and two businesses, according to the U.S. attorney's office. The scheme was an email compromise scheme, in which hackers access a business email account and send an official-looking email instructing that money be sent.
The money went into one of Huggins' bank accounts and he used it for personal expenses and transferred some of it to others illegally, the U.S. attorney's office said in a news release. Authorities say Huggins and his partners stole more than $164,000 from the Ft. Leonard Wood branch of the U.S. Army's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. They hacked into the email of an Illinois charter bus company and sent emails to Ft. Leonard Wood claiming to be from the business, according to the release. The business provides transportation for military members during winter holidays, the U.S. attorney's office said.
The group also stole $9,000 from a person in Tennessee and nearly $50,000 from a business in Idaho, the news release says.
Higgins has to forfeit $223,427 to the government as part of his plea agreement. He faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing has not been set.