U.S. Department of Justice|
Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California
United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-101|
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs|
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947
Los Angeles, CA - A Los Angeles man who orchestrated a scheme that led to the theft of approximately 6,700 United States Treasury checks worth about $18 million has been sentenced to 262 months in federal prison.
Talcum Marsh III, 47, received the 21-year, 10-month sentence Thursday evening from United States District Court Judge David O. Carter in Santa Ana. In addition to the prison term, Judge Carter ordered Marsh to pay $980,475 in restitution. In sentencing Marsh, Judge Carter described the case as the largest theft of Treasury checks case he had seen in his years as a judicial officer.
During a sentencing hearing that spanned several days, Judge Carter heard witnesses testify about Marsh's role in the theft and distribution of the Treasury checks, his involvement in the sale and distribution of the drug "ecstasy," and his involvement in the theft and distribution of credit cards. In a surveillance video submitted shown during the sentencing hearing, Marsh is heard describing himself as an "entrepreneur" who could not be expected to act like a "peasant."
"Talcum Marsh's sentence of more than 21 years for his role in a financial crime ring that sought to launder approximately $18 million in U.S. Treasury checks represents the culmination of a considerable multi-agency effort put forth during the two-year investigation," said J. Stephen Tidwell, Assistant Director in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office. "This significant sentence will put a major halt, and hopefully an end, to Marsh's criminal career which involved multiple financial and narcotics-related offenses."
In the scheme related to the Treasury checks, Marsh instructed United States Postal Service employee George Hall to steal the checks from the U.S. Mail. Hall delivered the checks to Marsh or Eric Muhammad, who stored the stolen UST checks for Marsh. Marsh advised Hall that he only wanted checks with a face value over $1,000, which prompted Hall to throw out any stolen Treasury checks for a lesser amount. Marsh paid Hall and Muhammad for stealing the checks and for acting as a distribution point for the checks.
Marsh and Muhammad distributed the stolen Treasury checks to various middlemen, including Rashaad Green and Timothy Jones, for the purpose of negotiating the checks. Green and Jones gave the stolen UST checks to other participants, such as Joel Boyd, Kyle Thompson, Corinthia Mims, Cynthia Mims, Sheila Watson and Tenisha Steen, who were known as "walkers" because they walked the stolen UST checks into various banks, financial institutions, and check-cashing businesses for the purpose of cashing the stolen UST checks. The walkers obtained false identifications to be used in negotiating the stolen UST checks.
Defendants Marvin Miller, Eutonia Lewis, Danielle Jones, Demetria Turner, Myra Rios, Susan Kenemixay and Nelsy Rubio were known as "inside plugs" because they worked at the banks, financial institutions, and check-cashing businesses and knowingly assisted the walkers in negotiating the stolen UST checks.
The proceeds from the stolen UST checks were divided among all participants.
The investigation revealed that from approximately February 2002 to December 2003, Hall, at the instruction of Marsh, stole approximately 6,700 UST checks worth $18,177,282.26.
Most of the walkers and inside plugs have already been sentenced, receiving prison terms as high as 70 months. Hall, 49, of Rancho Cucamonga; Muhammad, 27, of Venice; Steen, 40,of Tustin; and Marsh's brother, Benjamin, 41, of Woodland Hills, are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks.
"Organized criminal enterprises such as this one tear at the fabric of America's economy," said Anthony M. Chapa, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office for the Secret Service. "The U.S. Secret Service remains committed to protecting the financial infrastructure of the United States."
Postal Inspector in Charge William P. Atkins said: "The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies to ensure those who choose to break the law are brought to justice. Talcum Marsh III violated the community's trust and has been convicted and sentenced for his unlawful acts."
In addition to the Treasury check scheme, Marsh and Green engaged in drug trafficking activities. In late 2003, Marsh and a confidential informant discussed how Marsh could sell 1,000 ecstasy pills to the CI. Green's job was to manufacture the ecstasy. On December 5, 2003, Marsh sold the CI 150 ecstasy pills for $700. Three days later, Marsh sold the CI the remaining 850 ecstasy pills for $4,400. Later, after cutting Marsh out of the loop, Green dealt directly with the CI and sold him various amounts of ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana.
In a third case of criminal conduct, Boyd and Chad Watts committed an armed robbery of a Cash Plus store in Stanton, California. On October 11, 2003, Watts entered the Cash Plus armed with a semi-automatic handgun that Boyd had provided. In the store, Watts pointed the gun at an employee's head, Boyd took approximately $26,625. At trial, Boyd was convicted of conspiracy to commit the robbery, robbery, and use of a gun during the robbery. In a separate trial, Watts was convicted of conspiracy to commit the robbery and robbery. Watts was found not guilty of the gun charge. Boyd, 30, of Santa Ana, is a career criminal under federal law, and because of this he was sentenced on January 23, 2006, to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the Treasury Check scheme and the armed robbery. Watts, 25, of Santa Ana, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 14.
These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.
"Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation is committed to working with other federal law enforcement agencies and the United States Attorney's Office to protect the American public and our government," said Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Field Office. "Special Agents from the FBI, United States Postal Service, U.S. Secret Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation worked together in unraveling this scheme to defraud the American public."
Release No. 06-101
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