TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A federal grand jury has returned a 33-count indictment charging a Tyler man for fraud schemes in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Derek Robert Hamm, 38, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Tyler and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, violations of the Stolen Valor Act, using a fraudulent military discharge certificate and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 makes it illegal to fraudulently wear medals, embellish rank, or make false claims of military service to obtain money, employment, property, or some other tangible benefit.
The indictment stated that Hamm presented himself to be a former member of the Army Special Forces who had served multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.
Hamm claimed that he had been awarded a Purple Heart, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star for his service. According to a release he had not received any of those awards.
He allegedly falsely claimed to be related to Harold Hamm, a billionaire oilman in Oklahoma. He claimed this gave him access to financial resources and oil industry expertise, authorities say.
According to the indictment, Hamm’s false persona of being a wealthy war hero helped him to create an extensive network of people who introduced him to potential investors. Authorities said he then defrauded those investors in schemes related to the oil and gas industry and did not invest the funds as promised.
Instead of investing the funds, Hamm allegedly spent the money on lavish personal gifts including nearly $500,000 on jewelry and vehicles for himself and his family.
The indictment also alleges that Hamm was a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, as well as a domestic violence convict in possession of firearms and ammunition. He was convicted in Smith County in 2020 for theft of property which is a state felony and he was also convicted in 2005 for assault of a family member.
If convicted, Hamm faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
“If you or someone you know has been a victim of Derek Robert Hamm, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 903-594-3503. Derek Robert Hamm is also known as D. Wayne Hamm II, Wayne Hamm, D. Wayne H., DW Hamm, and RD Hamm,” the release stated.
This case was prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Tyler Field Office, with assistance from the Tyler Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, the Phoenix Arizona Police Department, Smith County Adult Probation, the Texas Railroad Commission-Enforcement Division, Department of Veteran’s Affairs-Office of Inspector General, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts-Criminal Investigation Division, and the United States Special Operations Command. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Austin Wells and Ryan Locker.