OAKLAND -- An Oakland man has been found guilty of defrauding two Arizona elementary school teachers of more than $3 million in a money laundering scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A federal jury convicted Keith Aaron Vann, 42, on three counts of money laundering on Monday after a four-day trial, said Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. Vann also was convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, Haag said.

Evidence at trial proved Vann used a false non-profit organization called Global Missions to make false representations to the teachers, who gave $3.3 million to the supposed organization from the respective estates of their fathers, Haag said.

The organization states that it provided humanitarian aid worldwide, including in Africa and that donations would be tax deductible. But the donations instead were used by Vann and others to pay for personal trips, jewelry, a downpayment on a luxury car and a $1.25 million home, trial evidence proved.

At least two others also were involved in the scheme. Joseph Williams of Hayward died in 2010, two years after his indictment on fraud charges that were subsequently dismissed. Joe Little Jr., 47, of Auburn pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and is awaiting sentencing.

U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong is scheduled to sentence Vann on March 26.


Advertisement

Rick Hurd covers crime. Contact him in Walnut Creek at 925-945-4780 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.