News and Press Releases

Broward County Resident Pleads Guilty in Treasury Check Cashing and Stolen Identity Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2014

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announce that Regina James, 38, of Fort Lauderdale, pled guilty for her participation in a check cashing and stolen identity scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for May 16, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Marra.

Specifically, James pled guilty to one count of theft of public money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). At sentencing, James faces a maximum term of ten years in prison for the theft of public money charge, and a mandatory term of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge, to run consecutively to any other sentence.

According to court documents, Wilson and Kate Lau owned a check cashing store called American Quick Cash (AQC). The Laus were cashing fraudulent tax refund checks arising out of fraudulent tax refund filings containing stolen identities. James was one of the seven “middle men” who brought the fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks to AQC. James also brought fake Florida driver’s licenses in the names of the individuals on the checks that she cashed at AQC. James was charged 15% to cash the fraudulent checks, but Lau subsequently increased the fee to 50%. James received the stolen checks from another person and gave 40% of the amount of the check to that individual, and kept 10% for herself.

From January 2010 through June 2011, the total amount of U.S. Treasury checks cashed by James at AQC is approximately $650,617. The number of victims involved is greater than 50, but fewer than 250.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the U.S. Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia E. Shick.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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