Leader Of Fraudulent UniRush Double Loading Scheme Sentenced
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Jamal Greene, 27, of Newport News, Va. was sentenced on June 11, 2014, to forty eight months in prison, following his guilty plea for his participation, with others, in a scheme to defraud Unirush, LLC, a provider of prepaid stored value cards. Greene was ordered to pay restitution in excess of $817,000.
Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, William G. Frantzen, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service’s Richmond Field Office, Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, and, Richard W. Myers, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.
Greene, along with three others, Almira Dobson, Sam McGill, and Knhesha Strickland, pled guilty to their participation in the scheme to defraud. According to the statements of facts entered in support of the guilty pleas and other publicly filed documents, from in or about at least October 2010, and continuing until in or about at least March 2012, the defendants and others engaged in a fraudulent scheme to obtain funds from UniRush, LLC, doing business as UniRush Financial Services (“UniRush”). Unirush provided prepaid Visa debit cards in the United States (referred to as Visa “RushCards”). Its prepaid debit cards were used to deposit money, withdraw cash, make purchases, shop online, and pay bills. Through its RushCard program, UniRush allowed customers to “reload” the RushCards in a number of ways, including direct deposit, through MoneyGram locations and through various online means. Individuals could obtain a maximum of four RushCard accounts. These accounts were tracked according to individuals’ Social Security Numbers.
Green Dot Corporation (“Green Dot”) was a business that offered prepaid debit or credit cards that worked similarly to a RushCard. Green Dot also offered a product called a “MoneyPak” that could be purchased for a set amount (ranging from $20 to $500 at most retailers and up to $1,000 at Walmart stores). Individuals who purchased RushCards could use Green Dot MoneyPaks to “reload” Money onto their RushCard. In or about March 2012, the Peninsula area of the Eastern District of Virginia experienced a surge in the purchase of Green Dot MoneyPaks from local retailers, including Walgreen’s, Rite Aids and 7-Eleven stores.
In or about April 2012, UniRush detected an error in its computer accounting system that allowed customers to make multiple fraudulent loads to their RushCard using the same MoneyPak. In this way, certain customers obtained double the value of their MoneyPak. The total loss to UniRush resulting from the fraudulent conduct was approximately $5.5 million from 2010 through March 2012, with the majority of the losses occurring from December 2011 through March 2012. In this time period, approximately $4.5 million in losses resulted from fraudulent uploading associated with account holders residing in the Peninsula area of the Eastern District of Virginia.
In or about October 2010, defendant Greene learned of the aforementioned fraudulent uploading scheme through an internet website. Greene began to engage the fraudulent uploading activity and demonstrated such activity to other conspirators. Greene recruited and instructed others how to execute the Unirush scheme, provided startup money for their participation, obtained identities (including that of his mentally disabled sister) to use in opening additional accounts and transferred funds between various accounts to further and conceal the scheme.
The four individuals named here, join four others who were all previously convicted in connection with the Unirush scheme (Andre Banks, Steven Banks, Erika Greene, Javon Whitaker).
This case is being investigated by special agents and officers of the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Newport News Police Department. Assistant U.S Attorney Brian Samuels is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.