Local News

'Credit Doctor of NC' pleads guilty to fraud

Posted May 5, 2011 9:14 p.m. EDT
Updated May 6, 2011 7:02 a.m. EDT

— A man who called himself "the credit doctor of North Carolina" pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to nine counts of an original 74-count indictment that accused him of millions of dollars of financial fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh said James Walter Goddard, 40, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty to three counts each of wire fraud and money laundering and one count each of bank fraud, obstruction of justice and aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors said that Goddard gathered information from clients seeking his help to obtain credit and then submitted hundreds of false applications for credit cards and lines of credit. Clients expected him to open one or two accounts in their names, but he would open 10 to 20 accounts and use the extra ones himself, prosecutors said. He charged clients a 15 percent fee for the accounts he secured in their name and told them about.

That indictment claimed he caused more than $4 million in credit application and wire fraud and he laundered $950,000 in merchant payments to his accounts.

Goodard faces up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud charge; 20 years on each charge of wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice; and two years on the aggravated identity theft charge.