Former Congressional Candidate From Mount Vernon Nabbed On Fraud Charges, Feds Say

A former congressional candidate from Westchester who held several leadership positions in county and city government has been convicted of federal fraud charges, officials announced. 

Derickson Lawrence of Mount Vernon.

Derickson Lawrence of Mount Vernon.

Photo Credit: LinkedIn/Derickson K. Lawrence

Mount Vernon resident Derickson Lawrence, age 67, was convicted of fraud charges after defrauding his payroll company's client and a COVID-19 relief program, the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced on Friday, March 22. 

According to federal officials, Lawrence, who unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat to represent New York's 16th Congressional District in 2018 and 2016, was the chief executive officer and sole owner of MarketView Resources, Inc., which provided third-party payroll services to a Virginia Beach-based company that owned restaurant franchises in the mid-Atlantic region. 

This company would regularly transfer payroll money to a bank account controlled by Lawrence to pay the salaries of its employees who decided to receive wages by debit card. However, between March 2017 and October 2019, Lawrence wired around $230,000 from this account to his brokerage account. 

He then proceeded to lose most of these funds through "risky, speculative" options trading, officials said, adding that he would also use the restaurant workers’ wages to pay for debit cards that he gave himself, his employee, and family members. 

As a result of this scheme, by December 2018, there was not enough money left in the account to cover transactions of the employees who used their debit cards to withdraw their wages. The financial services company that would cover these transactions for MarketView covered nearly $90,000 until they ended their relationship with Lawrence in September 2019.

Soon after this, on Sept. 25, 2019, MarketView's records showed a balance of over $465,000 that was available to cardholders, while the account actually only had $2,400. 

In addition to defrauding restaurant employees, Lawrence also took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal COVID-19 relief program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

In April 2020, Lawrence submitted a PPP loan application that falsely stated that he had two employees and paid them more than $10,000 in monthly wages. He also falsely portrayed his company's 2020 payroll by using an altered bank statement that instead depicted activity from February 2016. 

As a result of this scheme, Lawrence received a loan of $26,250, which he used for options trading, officials said.

Lawrence now faces 20 years in prison on each of the 11 counts of wire and mail fraud charges he was convicted of, according to officials. He will be sentenced on Friday, July 19. 

In addition to running for Congress in 2016, Lawrence was also the former Chair of the Mount Vernon Charter Revision Commission from May 2019 to November 2020; the Co-Vice Chairman of the Westchester County Charter Revision Commission from 2011 to 2013; and served as Chairman of the Westchester County Homeowner's Coalition and Westchester County Crime Stoppers, Inc. 

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