Federal Jury Convicts Derickson Lawrence For Defrauding Restaurant Employees and COVID-19 Relief Program


Norfolk, VA – A federal jury convicted former Chair of the Mount Vernon Charter Revision Commission, Derickson K. Lawrence, on Friday on charges of wire and mail fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia announced.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Derickson Lawrence, 67, was the Chief Executive Officer and sole owner of MarketView Resources, Inc., a company that provided third-party payroll services. MarketView had only one significant client, a Virginia Beach company that owned restaurant franchises in the mid-Atlantic region. The Virginia Beach company regularly transferred payroll money to a bank account controlled by Lawrence to pay the salaries of its employees who elected to receive their wages via debit card.

From March 2017 through October 2019, Lawrence wired approximately $230,000 from the bank account with the employees’ wages to his brokerage account, most of which he lost through risky, speculative options trading. Lawrence also used the restaurant workers’ wages to pay debit cards he gave to himself, his own employees, and family members.

As early as December 2018, on numerous occasions, there was not enough money left to cover the transactions of employees who used their debit cards to withdraw their wages. The financial services company that processed those transactions for MarketView covered nearly $90,000 until they terminated their relationship with Lawrence in September 2019. On Sept. 25, 2019, when the paycards were shut off, MarketView’s own records showed an available balance to cardholders of more than $465,000, while the bank account only contained $2,400. 

In addition to defrauding his client, Lawrence defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a COVID-19 relief program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The PPP program was intended to provide loans backed by the Small Business Administration to certain businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other entities to help them retain their employees or stay afloat during the pandemic. In April 2020, Lawrence submitted a PPP loan application that falsely stated he had two employees and paid over $10,000 in monthly wages. Lawrence falsely portrayed MarketView’s 2020 payroll by using an altered bank statement that actually reflected activity from February 2016. Lawrence received a PPP loan of $26,250, which he used for options trading.

CD-16 Congressional Candidate Derickson Lawrence announcing his candidacy, on Saturday, March 5, 2015 in front of the historic St. Paul’s Church in Mount Vernon [Black Westchester]

Lawrence-who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Eliot Engel for Congress in CD-16 in 2016 and 2018 who also unsuccessfully ran for Mount Vernon Comptroller in 2021-faces 20 years in prison on each of the 11 counts when sentenced on July 19. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr, accepted the verdict.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Mozzi and E. Rebecca Gantt are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-89.

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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