A federal grand jury yesterday indicted two former employees of a Birmingham-area Chick-fil-A restaurant franchise, alleging that they conspired to defraud their former employer, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Patrick M. Davis. 

A 16-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Larry James Black, Jr., 37, of Center Point, the former Director of Hospitality at Chick-fil-A Five Points, and Joshua Daniel Powell, 40, of Moody, a former Manager at the same location, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.  Black was also charged with bank fraud and misuse of a social security number.

According to the indictment, Black and Powell devised and implemented a scheme to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars in customer payments between April 2018 and January 2020.  Black and Powell used fraudulent email and digital payment accounts to trick customers and divert payments for catering orders and other restaurant sales to bank accounts under their personal control.

Before and during this period, Black is also alleged to have made a series of fraudulent representations to financial institutions. In January 2020, for example, Black applied for a mortgage loan. In connection with his loan application, Black forged payroll records and made misrepresentations regarding his income from the Chick-fil-A franchise. Black also provided a fictitious social security number to banks and credit unions where he held accounts. Ultimately, proceeds from the scheme to defraud Chick-fil-A Five Points were deposited into accounts at these same financial institutions.

If convicted, Black and Powell face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud.  Black also faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for bank fraud, and a maximum of five years in prison for misuse of a social security number.

The U.S. Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Canter is prosecuting.

An indictment contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.