Alabama man sentenced for obtaining, spending money meant for family of fallen police officer

Published 3:53 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2021

An Alabama man was sentenced for a scheme to obtain money from a fund intended for the family of a fallen Huntsville Police officer.

U.S. District Judge Annemarie Axon sentenced Devonte Lemond Hammonds, 28, of Birmingham to 37 months in prison for access device fraud and wire fraud.  Hammonds pleaded guilty to the charges in February.

“This sentence sends a strong message that frauds like this will be prosecuted and punished severely,” U.S. Attorney Escalona said.  “This defendant exploited a tragedy and stole money intended for the family of an officer killed in the line of duty.  Today justice was served for the victims of this egregious crime.”

“Today’s sentencing revealed that what Devonte Hammonds thought was an easy fraud scheme turned out to be an even easier trip to federal prison,” Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez, Houston Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service said.  “His mail fraud scheme was insidious, and it is hoped that justice being served today will help bring closure for those he affected.”

“Hammonds stole from the family of a fallen hero and has now been sentenced for his despicable crimes,” FBI SAC Sharp said.  “I commend the tireless efforts of our special agents and law enforcement partners who worked jointly to bring this case to justice.”

In December 2019, Hammonds devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain money from the Billy Clardy Memorial Fund.  Billy Clardy was a Huntsville Police officer killed in the line of duty in 2019.  After Officer Clardy’s death, a memorial fund was established to collect contributions and provide aid to his family. Hammonds used the identity of another person to open a bank account and transfer funds from the Billy Clardy Memorial Fund bank account to the fictitious account for his own use.  Hammonds also used the U.S. Postal Service website to fraudulently reroute mail from numerous U.S. Postal Service customers to addresses in Birmingham that he could access.  He rerouted the mail to obtain more personal identifying information of those customers and used that information to pay bills, make purchases, and open new accounts.

The FBI and USPIS investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.B. Ward and Michael Pillsbury prosecuted the case.