A D.C. service station operator was sentenced to a year in prison today on charges stemming from a check-kiting scheme that involved, by his own estimate, more than $70 million over six years.
Eddy Marvin Thompson, 39, who owned Thompson's Texaco, located at 4000 Georgia Ave. NW, told U.S. District Court Judge Frank A. Kaufman that throughout the six-year period he never thought "that there was anything wrong or illegal with it . . . . I simply want to say that I have never knowingly walked, or gotten myself, in anything that was criminal."
But Kaufman, who said he would recommend a minimum security prison for Thompson, called the scheme "a sophisticated, artfully designed, well thought out, long and continuous program."
Thompson said he believed he had been extended a "line of credit" by an American Security Bank branch manager and his assistant, who approved the checks for cashing.
Both employes have been charged with failing to file the federal reports required when cashing unusually large checks.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven A. Allen, Thompson was trying to cover his gas station expenses by taking money from overdrawn checking accounts at an American Security branch in the District and a Citizens Bank and Trust branch in Silver Spring. Thompson would write a check on his Maryland bank account, cash it at his District bank, then rush back to Maryland to cover checks he cashed doing the same thing the day before.
With the amounts of money involved growing daily, the scheme became out of control, Allen said.
It came to a halt last year when a federal currency task force came across Thompson's unusually large bank deposits during a routine audit.
American Security recovered all but $204,800, the amount of the last check Thompson wrote before his arrest, and it has since won a civil judgment for that amount in a federal court in the District.
Thompson has appealed that judgment.