Durham resident Gary Patterson has been sentenced to 94 months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in relation to a scheme in which he defrauded dozens of Durham small businesses, according to the Department of Justice.
Patterson presented himself as a member of the clergy, posing as “Bishop Gary Johnson” and “Pastor Ed Johnson” in order to convince merchants to force the sale of unauthorized credit card transactions.
The scheme, in which Patterson used a debit card issued on a closed Bank of America account in the name of Second Chance Outreach Ministry, allowed Patterson to obtain goods, money and services from merchants.
In part of the scheme, Patterson would approach auto care businesses as a bishop or pastor who had repair work on a church van. He would claim the work had been paid for with a personal credit card instead of the church credit card and convince them to force the payment on his fraudulent card and write a check to refund for the amount charged on the personal credit card. Patterson would then transfer the refund check to his personal account.
In addition to a 94-month imprisonment, Patterson is sentenced to a three-year’s supervised release and ordered to pay $72,730.66 in restitution.