News and Press Releases

Altamonte Springs Man Convicted of Bank Fraud

January 13, 2012

Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that a federal jury, on Wednesday, found Steve Prophete (26, Altamonte Springs) guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, six counts of bank fraud, and one count of making a false statement. Prophete faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 5, 2012. Prophete was indicted on July 13, 2011.

According to evidence presented at trial, members of the conspiracy set up bank accounts over the internet using stolen identities. Those accounts were then funded by unauthorized wire transfers made from accounts at other banks. Before the banks could detect the scheme, the conspirators sent the fraud proceeds to accounts in Central Florida either by wire transfer or a check that would then be deposited. Prophete participated in the scheme by withdrawing some of the fraud proceeds that had been deposited into a Central Florida bank account. He also recruited other individuals in Central Florida to provide their bank accounts to be used for receipt of the proceeds from the scheme. After funds were transferred to those accounts, Prophete took the individuals he recruited to the multiple bank locations, and over the course of several days he supervised them in the withdrawal of thousands of dollars in fraudulent proceeds. The six bank fraud counts represent more than $396,000 in fraudulent transactions.

Winston James (30, Winter Springs) and Joash Airall (30, Maitland) are also being prosecuted for their participation in these crimes. On October 13, 2011, James and Airall each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. They each face a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for the conspiracy violation, and a minimum of two years imprisonment for their aggravated identity theft violations. Sentencing hearings for both are scheduled for January 26, 2012.

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









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