FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
FRIDAY - January 9, 2009
FUGITIVE SENTENCED IN BANK FRAUD CASE
NEW BERN - Acting United States Attorney John Stuart Bruce announced that in federal court yesterday Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced RONSDELL DEMON WASHINGTON, 45, of Lumberton, North Carolina, to 27 months’ imprisonment followed by five years supervised release. Washington was also ordered to pay $39,890 in restitution.
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on September 28, 2005. WASHINGTON, who had been a fugitive for three years, was apprehended in Atlanta, Georgia and pled guilty on October 6, 2008, to conspiring to commit bank fraud and aiding and abetting bank fraud. The investigation revealed that between March 21, 2003 and June 6, 2003, WASHINGTON, with the help of various individuals, recruited approximately 14 other individuals to either open a bank account at either BB&T or Wachovia with a small initial deposit of $100.00, and request a debit card; or use an existing inactive or low balance account held in their name.
Between the time the account was opened and/or the debit cards were received in the mail, unknown co-conspirators in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, would deposit stolen or counterfeited checks into the North Carolina bank accounts on which the debit cards were issued. The banks would credit the accounts with the total amount of the checks deposited (between $4,000 and $12,000) allowing the customer access to funds which had not yet cleared the bank processing centers.
After the stolen or counterfeited checks were deposited into the accounts, WASHINGTON would direct the individuals who opened the accounts to drive to different post offices to purchase three $500.00 money orders per visit with the debit cards. After obtaining the money orders, the individuals would immediately drive to other post offices and cash the money orders. At least 40 money orders totaling $19,750 were purchased and cashed at ten different post offices throughout the Eastern District of North Carolina between March 12, 2003, and June 6, 2003. In addition to the money orders, bank automatic teller machines (ATM) were accessed by the individuals as they traveled between the post offices.
Mr. Holding commented: “The sentence imposed by the Court in this case reflects the serious nature of the case and the complex scheme put in place to carry out the crime. We’re grateful for the diligent work of the Postal Inspection Service in the investigation of this matter.”
Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Felice McConnell Corpening served as prosecutor for the government.
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