• Lakeland man hacks bank, tries to steal $7 billion because Jesus wanted him to, officials say

    By: Mark Boxley


    LAKELAND, Fla. - An unemployed Lakeland man has entered a guilty plea on charges he made $7 billion in fraudulent wire transfers because Jesus wanted him to be wealthy, court documents say.

    In a heavily redacted criminal complaint, John Michael Haskew was accused of setting up the wire transfers on Dec. 9 and 10 from “a large, nationally renowned financial institution.”

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    Investigators were tipped off to the suspicious wire transfers on Dec. 12, saying Haskew had processed numerous transactions totaling more than $7 billion.

    Haskew told agents he was “self-taught on the banking industry” and figured out how to make the fraudulent wire transfers through experimentation, the complaint said.

    The bank involved was only identified as “Bank A” in the complaint.

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    When asked why he continued to make the wire transfers, Haskew told investigators that he believed he deserved the money, court documents said.

    “(He stated) that Jesus Christ created wealth for everyone,” the criminal complaint said. “Using this scheme, Haskew believed that he could obtain the wealth that Jesus Christ created for him and that belonged to him.”

    He was arrested on Dec. 16.

    Haskew entered a guilty plea Thursday on a charge of making a false or fraudulent statement to a department or agency of the United States.

    When he is sentenced, Haskew could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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