News

Second Conspirator Sentenced in Bank Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2012

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Jean Mariat Yogo Tognia, age 36, of Ellenwood, Georgia to three years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for aggravated identity theft and bank fraud conspiracy in which he 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 his plea agreement, Jean Tognia and his wife Elza 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.

Jean Tognia befriended a recent immigrant to the United States and in early 2009 obtained the immigrant’s foreign passport. Jean Tognia provided the passport to his wife in order to open 14 checking accounts in the immigrant’s name. Jean and Elza Tognia traveled to Maryland and opened post office boxes and bank accounts in false names, using the immigrant’s passport and identity.

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

Elza Carmelle Tognia, age 35, of Ellenwood, Georgia previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and was sentenced on April 23, 2012 to 15 months in prison.

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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