Portsmouth man sentenced in mail fraud case

Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2023

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NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to 2 years in prison for defrauding nearly 20 victims across the United States of almost $90,000 in several mail fraud schemes.

According to court documents, between 2020 and 2022, Richard Edward Hardy, 55, conspired with others to use the U.S. postal service and other mail carriers to defraud victims in romance, real estate, and other fraud schemes. In the real estate scheme, victims responded to a property that was listed for rent online. The victims were instructed to send Hardy a security deposit and first month’s rent at his Portsmouth home. Unbeknownst to the victims, the properties were not actually for rent, and Hardy cashed the money orders and shared the proceeds with his coconspirators.

Hardy defrauded nearly all the victims after being convicted in Portsmouth General District Court of similar conduct in December 2020. Further, after federal law enforcement executed a search warrant at his home in September 2022, Hardy continued to defraud additional victims in a change-of-address scheme.

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Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Derek W. Gordon, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; and Damon E. Wood, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Gantt prosecuted the case.