WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) — An Army Staff Sergeant who was accused of filing fake claims of account fraud to get banks to reimburse him has pleaded guilty a charge of bank fraud.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Staff Sgt. Edward Wheeler entered his plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court and faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced this summer.

Wheeler, of Cameron, is assigned to Pope Army Airfield. Prosecutors say he defrauded multiple financial institutions from January 2019-September 2021 by filing fake claims of account fraud with at least six banks.

Federal prosecutors say he made purchases and then falsely claimed the transactions were unauthorized so the banks would refund his accounts with provisional credit. 

They said he would then transfer those funds to other accounts so the banks could not recoup the money.