News and Press Releases

Altamonte Springs Man Sentenced to 4 Years for Bank Fraud

April 5, 2012

Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Chief Judge Anne C. Conway today sentenced Steve Prophete (26, Altamonte Springs) to four years in federal prison for his role in a bank fraud scheme and conspiracy. Prophete was also ordered to serve four years of supervised release and to pay $290,000 in restitution to the victims of his crimes.

Steve Prophete was indicted on July 13, 2011. On January 12, 2012, he was convicted by a federal jury on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, six counts of bank fraud, and one count of making a false statement.

According to the evidence presented at trial and the facts adopted by the court at sentencing, members of the conspiracy established accounts at on-line banks, using identities that they knew were either stolen or obtained without lawful authority. Conspirators attempted to fund those accounts with over $1.8 million in unauthorized wire transfers that were sent from other banks. Before the banks could detect the scheme, conspirators sent the fraud proceeds to accounts in central Florida, either by wire transfer or a check that would then be deposited into accounts.

As part of the scheme, Prophete withdrew some of the fraud proceeds that had been deposited into a central Florida bank account. He also recruited other individuals to provide their bank accounts to be used as part of the scheme. After funds were transferred to those accounts, Prophete took those individuals to multiple bank locations over the course of several days and supervised them in the withdrawal of thousands of dollars. As a result of these crimes, two federally insured financial institutions suffered a loss of $290,000.

Two other individuals have been prosecuted for their participation in these crimes. On January 26, 2012, Winston James (31, Winter Springs) was sentenced to five years in federal prison for his role in the above and another federal fraud investigation. James was ordered to pay $575,703.33 in restitution to the victims in both cases. Another co-conspirator, Joash Airall (30, Maitland) was also sentenced on January 26, 2012, to 57 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. As part of his sentence, Airall was ordered to pay $290,000 in restitution to the victims in his case.

These cases were investigated by the United States Secret Service. They were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.









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