Conspirator Sentenced in Bank Fraud Scheme

Case Demonstrates Federal Commitment to Stop Importation of Illegal Drugs

April 23, 2012

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Elza Carmelle Tognia, age 35, of Ellenwood, Georgia to 15 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for bank fraud conspiracy in which she fraudulently obtained money from banks in Maryland. Judge Titus entered an order requiring Tognia to forfeit $88,509.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge David Beach of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.

According to her plea agreement, Elza Tognia and her husband Jean Tognia created numerous aliases for themselves and obtained false identifications in their alias names. The couple opened accounts at banks in their alias names, using the false identification documents, then wrote checks on those accounts and deposited the checks into different accounts, knowing that the accounts on which the checks were drawn lacked sufficient funds to cover the checks (NSF checks). The Tognias then withdrew funds from their accounts by way of VISA check card and debit card purchases, cash withdrawals, checks written on the accounts, and transfers to other accounts before the NSF checks were dishonored, leaving the accounts with significant deficits.

The total loss sustained by the Maryland banks as a result of the scheme was $88,509.

Jean Mariat Yogo Tognia, age 36, of Ellenwood, Georgia pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison at his sentencing scheduled for May 4, 2012.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service -Washington Field Office and the Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Adam K. Ake, who prosecuted the case.

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