WACO, TX — A Waco man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for a scheme that deceived numerous victims, including several former law enforcement, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Richard Lee Burney, 50, pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud.
In plea papers, Burney admitted to defrauding a number of Texas ranchland owners.
Those victims included a retiree of the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and a former Department of Public Safety Trooper who served the public for 35 years.
According to court documents, Burney devised a scheme in which he stated he was working in the timber business alongside the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with the cleanup effort in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew made landfall there in 2016.
Burney admitted to fraudulently claiming, that in connection with his work, he entered into a “lease buy-back” program that would allow him to lease equipment from a Bobcat Company dealership, use the equipment for the FEMA projects, and then resell the equipment at significantly discounted prices to individual buyers who agreed to reserve purchases with partial or full down payments.
Burney sent emails and text messages to victims to assure them that the equipment would be available.
Burney never followed through on his promise to deliver the equipment to any of his victims or refund the money he schemed from them.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, Lubbock Resident Agency and the Texas Rangers conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Howey prosecuted the case. U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix handed down the sentence.