The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 14, 2011 released the following:
“Fayetteville Man Indicted by Federal Grand Jury for Defrauding Colleges and Universities
ATLANTA— DALE BRANNAN, 65, of Fayetteville, Georgia, has been indicted on federal charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and one count of making a false declaration in a bankruptcy filing, in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud colleges and universities in planning overseas trips for collegiate sports teams. He was arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge C. Christopher Hagy, who ordered BRANNAN to be detained pending final bond conditions to be set tomorrow morning in court.
United States Attorney Sally Yates said, “This defendant is charged with taking advantage of collegiate student-athletes, their parents and fans, and the universities they attend, all of which had paid and prepared for overseas trips, and allegedly cheating them of not only their money but also the opportunity to compete abroad.”
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, said, “This case is significant to the FBI not merely because of the loss amounts but also because of the many victims left in the wake of this scheme who had trusted the defendant with handling their collegiate travels abroad.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: BRANNAN was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 13, 2011. According to the indictment, BRANNAN operated a company called “Transports Athletics,” in Fayetteville, Georgia and Savannah, Georgia, beginning in 2001. The company allegedly arranged travel overseas for university sports teams. From September 2006 through July 2008, BRANNAN contracted with the University of New Mexico, Kansas State University, Oakland University, Stonehill College and Minnesota State University – Mankato to arrange airfare and hotel reservations for the schools’ sports teams to travel to China, Finland, Italy, and Brazil. The indictment charges that BRANNAN actually used the funds provided by these universities, parents of student-athletes and fans to pay the costs of trips for other schools who had earlier contracts with Transports Athletics, and to pay BRANNAN’s personal expenses. Shortly before the sports teams of the victim universities were scheduled to depart for their trips, BRANNAN notified them that Transports Athletics would be filing for bankruptcy and that their trips were cancelled.
The indictment alleges BRANNAN then founded a new company, “Sports Tours and Tournament Specialists, Inc.” (“STATS”), and began arranging all-new trips for other universities. Transports Athletics subsequently filed for bankruptcy, and according to the indictment, BRANNAN failed to disclose certain transfers and creditors in the bankruptcy filing. By filing bankruptcy, BRANNAN was discharged of his debts to the victim universities, whose student-athletes were not able to travel abroad on the trips for which they had paid.
The indictment alleges that estimated loss from BRANNAN’s fraud was over $400,000. The mail fraud and conspiracy charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The bankruptcy fraud charge and the false declaration charge each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Shanya J. Dingle is prosecuting the case.”
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