Leader in Bank Fraud Scheme Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison
Deposited Altered and Counterfeit Checks Into Bank Accounts They Controlled
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. sentenced Nathan A. Silla, age 39, of Glenn Dale, Maryland, today to 12 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, two counts of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, in connection to a scheme in which he and his co-conspirators created counterfeit checks and stole money using misappropriated bank account information and the personal identifying information of individuals. Judge Williams ordered Silla to forfeit $900,000 in cash, six flat panel TVs and other electronics, a 2004 Land Rover Range Rover, and jewelry, including a Cartier watch. Judge Williams also ordered Silla to pay restitution of $331,449 and to forfeit $100,000.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Special Agent in Charge David Beach of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office.
Silla pleaded guilty after two days of trial. According to his plea agreement, Silla and co-conspirators Kodjo Kakra Duncan, Kodjo Panyin Duncan, Caleb K. Otsibah and Stephen L. Wise opened bank accounts at financial institutions in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland, and in Washington, D.C., in their own names, in false names, in family members’ names and in the names of shell corporations they controlled. Silla, the Duncans and Caleb Otsibah used stolen identifying information of individuals to open some of those accounts and obtain check cards.
Silla admitted that he and other conspirators obtained checks from victim individuals and corporations, which they washed to remove the actual payee’s names, then printed with the name of a conspirator, or one of the names being used by the conspirators. Silla and others also created counterfeit checks by printing the misappropriated name and bank account information of victim individuals and companies onto counterfeit checks. They wrote those checks payable to conspirators or companies controlled by conspirators. They deposited these altered and counterfeit checks into accounts they controlled.
Silla admitted that the intended loss from the scheme was at least $400,000.
Kodjo Kakra Duncan, age 39, of Capitol Heights, Maryland; Kodjo Panyin Duncan, age 39, of Lanham, Maryland; Caleb K. Otsibah, age 39, of Lanham; and Stephen L. Wise, age 23, of Washington, D.C., have previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the conspiracy. Each has been sentenced to between 37 and 66 months in prison, and ordered to pay restitution of at least $58,974.61 and up to $175,632.67.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Secret Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christen A. Sproule, who prosecuted the case.