springfield men sentenced for stolen check fraud scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two Springfield, Mo., men have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to alter stolen checks and pass them at various retailers in the Springfield area.
Maurice Suton Anton Sayles, also known as “Ish” Washington, and his twin brother, Martinus Antuan Sayles, both 36 and both of Springfield, were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 to seven years and one month in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Maurice Sayles to pay $3,303 in restitution; Martinus must pay at least $1,838 in restitution.
Maurice Sayles, who admitted that he was the leader of the criminal conspiracy that involved at least five participants, pleaded guilty on Oct. 11, 2012. Martinus Sayles pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy on Aug. 27, 2012.
Martinus Sayles acquired stolen checks from an unidentified person in the Kansas City, Mo., area. Martinus and Maurice Sayles then altered the checks by cutting out digits from the routing and account numbers, and replacing them with other digits using glue and a hammer. They passed the forged checks at various retailers throughout the Springfield area and recruited others to pass the forged checks for them.
Sometimes the Sayles brothers and those they recruited used false identification to pass the forged checks. Maurice Sayles created the false identifications using a label maker to alter the existing identification card or driver’s license of the individual passing the check to match the name of the account holder on the check. The Sayles brothers, with the assistance of others they recruited, returned the merchandise they purchased for a cash refund.
Many times, the Sayles brothers facilitated their return of the merchandise by altering the purchase receipts to appear as though the purchase had occurred more than 10 days before the return. This was done to circumvent the 10-day return policy most stores had in place, which required customers paying by check to wait at least 10 days before returning merchandise in order to ensure the check had cleared before a refund was issued.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service.