WESTPORT, Conn. -- Richard A. Ullman of Westport pleaded guilty in federal court in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Aug. 20, to making false statements to the Defense Finance Accounting Service.
Ullman, 50, faces up to five years in prison, $250,000 in fines or both as a result of the guilty plea. Ullmann was released pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Nov. 28.
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, Ullmann owned and operated a Westport-based financial services company called Donnell Financial Group that made short-term loans to members of the U.S. armed forces, military retirees and their survivors, and others.
In exchange for the loans, Donnell's customers assigned their future pension payments to Ullmann as collateral. Federal law prohibits the assignment of pension benefits as collateral for members of the armed forces and military retirees. DFAS also prohibits anyone but the account holder to make changes to their account, including where the payments will be deposited and who should receive the funds.
In March 2009, DFAS warned Ullmann that his practice of impersonating the account holder in order to direct payments into bank accounts he controlled could subject him to prosecution.
Ullmann admitted Wednesday that despite that warning, he continued to impersonate numerous individuals and direct their pension payments into bank accounts he controlled until February 2014, when federal agents executed a search warrant at Donnell.