Special to Iredell Free News

A South Carolina man has entered a guilty plea to wire fraud conspiracy for his role in a scheme that defrauded Lowe’s stores, including one in Iredell County, of more than $450,000, William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, announced.

Bobby Cherry, 58, of Manning, S.C., appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler on Thursday.

According to filed plea documents and today’s court hearing, from August 2019 to March 2020, Cherry and his two co-defendants, Russell Leroy Calvin and Michael Marcel Montgomery, along with other co-conspirators, defrauded Lowe’s through a scheme involving fraudulent business accounts. According to court records, Cherry and his co-defendants created fictional landscaping and home improvement companies to open fraudulent business accounts with Lowe’s, which they then used to make multiple purchases at stores in the Charlotte area and throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Court records show that, once the fraudulent business accounts were approved and funded, the codefendants used them to purchase expensive landscaping equipment, such as zero turn mowers and other items. In total, during the course of the scheme, the co-conspirators opened at least 25 such fraudulent business accounts which they used to obtain more than $450,000 in fraudulently purchased goods. The scheme involved local Lowe’s stores in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union, Lincoln, Cleveland, and Iredell counties.

Cherry pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Michael Marcel Montgomery pleaded guilty to the same charge on February 1, 2021. A sentencing date for Cherry and Montgomery has not been set.

The charges against the third co-defendant, Russell Leroy Calvin, are still pending, and Calvin is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer thanked ICE-HSI for their investigation of the case.

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