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St. Louis man sentenced on bank fraud, conspiracy and identity theft charges

July 26, 2012

St. Louis, MO - Mario Darnell Smith was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment on charges involving his use of customer information to steal money from bank accounts at U.S. Bank. Smith was also ordered to serve a term of community confinement upon his release from prison.

According to the facts before the court, Jeffrey G. White was employed by U.S. Bank at a branch in St. Louis County. As part of his employment, White had access to customer account information, including account numbers for business accounts and names of persons associated with business accounts. Mario Darnell Smith was an acquaintance of White. In the spring of 2011, Smith convinced White to provide Smith with account information for customers of U.S. Bank, including business customers. After getting the customer account information, Smith set up an elaborate scheme that included registering phony Internet domain names, creating e-mail accounts to make it look as though he was sending e-mail from employees of AmerenUE, obtaining multiple cell phones, creating a bogus PayPal account and using multiple names. Smith then used these means in an attempt to obtain cash delivery services from an Ameren account at U.S. Bank. The bank, however, uncovered the scheme and promptly reported the matter to the FBI. Agents of the FBI then traced the activity to Smith.

On June 20, 2011, while the FBI had Smith under surveillance, Smith contacted U.S. Bank and requested approximately $180,000 in cash pursuant to U.S. Bank cash vault services. Shortly after the request, the FBI arrested Smith and the bank fraud scheme was never completed.

"While customers are not liable for the loss resulting from an inside job, it is still important for people to constantly monitor their financial accounts," said Special Agent in Charge Dean C. Bryant of the FBI St. Louis Division. "In many cases like this, people are not aware that they have been victimized until well after the fact."

MARIO DARNELL SMITH pled guilty in May to one felony count of bank fraud, three felony counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge Rodney W. Sippel.

At the time of his crimes, Smith was on supervised release for a prior federal weapons charge. As a result, Smith was also sentenced to an additional year of imprisonment by United States District Judge Henry E. Autrey. This additional year is to be served consecutive to the sentence imposed by Judge Sippel.

Co-defendant Jeffrey White pled guilty in December to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to three years in probation in June.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Regional Computer Crimes Education and Enforcement Group (RCCEEG), including detectives from the Chesterfield and Webster Groves Police Departments. Assistant United States Attorney John Bodenhausen and Stephen Casey handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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