United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins
Western District of North Carolina
The Co-conspirators Stole More Than $1 Million From Financial Institutions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal criminal indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court today charges 27 members of a check fraud scheme with bank fraud conspiracy and related charges, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. (See chart below for a list of federal charges and maximum penalties for each defendant).
Russell F. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Division and Chief Rodney D. Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.
Of the 27 defendants charged in the indictment, 17 were arrested today, three are pending arrest (have agreed to turn themselves in), four are in state custody on state charges and three have not been arrested yet (photos of those not arrested are attached):
• Phillip Gregory Harris, Sr., aka “Cash P,” 30, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Olwin Brown, aka “Juice” and “OJ,” 22, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Kevin Smith, 33, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Renardo Perry, aka “S-Dub,” 28, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Jerry McDuffie, aka “J,” 31, of Whiteville, N.C. (arrested)
• Craig McInnis, 24, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Yarral Wilson, 26, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Kalif Wilson, aka “Scrap,” 28, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Jarral Thompson, 28, of Clover, S.C. (arrested)
• Jakari Rutledge, 24, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Martell Mackey, aka “Telly,” 26, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Jade Brown, 24, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Christopher Moat, 28, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Rashad Johnson, 26, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Quillie Smith, 29, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Keosha Mack, aka “Kiki,” 28, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Stanley Rutledge, Jr., 27, of Charlotte. (arrested)
• Jordan Forster, aka “2-3,” 26, of Charlotte. (pending)
• Pamela Kerns, 26, of Davidson, N.C. (pending)
• Tierra Love, 22, of Charlotte. (pending)
• Anthony Woods, aka “Gerod,” 30, of Charlotte. (in state custody)
• Tomonta Simmons, aka “Montay,” 21, of Charlotte. (in state custody)
• Christian Robertson, 20, of Charlotte. (in state custody)
• Walter Boyd, aka “Web,” 26, of Chester, S.C. (in state custody)
• Elijah Grant, aka “Box,” 28, of Charlotte. (not in custody)
• Travis Gabriel, aka “Gangster,” 27, of Charlotte. (not in custody)
• Demarcus Shankle, 25, of Charlotte. (not in custody)
According to allegations contained in the indictment:
From 2007 to 2014, the co-conspirators were involved in a check fraud scheme that operated in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Iredell and Cabarrus counties. The co-conspirators obtained checks linked to active bank accounts, either by purchasing or stealing them from the legitimate account holders. The co-conspirators then deposited these worthless checks made out for various amounts into bank accounts with very little or no available funds, thereby tricking the bank system into crediting the accounts with the funds. During the time it took the bank to process the bad checks, the co-conspirators used ATM cards and other methods to withdraw cash from those accounts. Over the course of the conspiracy, the defendants stole more than $1 million from numerous financial institutions.
“Combating financial fraud remains priority for my office. Fraud schemes like the one perpetrated by the defendants compromise the integrity of our financial system and leave the rest of us to pay for the incurred losses,” said U.S. Attorney Tompkins.
“Technology has forever changed the way we do business, making every day financial transactions a prime target for fraud,” said Charlotte Field Office Special Agent in Charge Russell F. Nelson. “The Secret Service, in conjunction with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and other task force agencies, continues to successfully combat these financial crimes by adapting our investigative methodologies. The U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force is a strategic alliance of law enforcement, academia and the corporate sector; dedicated to investigating, disrupting, and deterring cybercrime,” stated Nelson, “and this case serves as a great example of how these partnerships can strike a serious blow to organized crime groups that target our financial sector.”
“Financial frauds have been on the rise both on a national and on a local level,” said Chief Rodney Monroe, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “With this recent check fraud conspiracy, I am so proud that our respective agencies were able to work together. Only through our partnerships are we able to bring about large indictments as this.”
All 27 defendants involved in the scheme have been charged with one count of bank fraud conspiracy and they face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. All defendants except Tomonta Simmons have also been charged with one count of bank fraud. Kevin Smith is also charged with one count of possession of counterfeit securities, one count of possession of stolen mail and one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon. Phillip Harris faces an additional charge of aggravated identity theft, and Tomonta Simmons is charged with two counts of theft of firearms.
The defendants arrested today will appear in U.S. District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Keesler. Elijah Grant, Travis Gabriel and Demarcus Shankle are still wanted by law enforcement.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and CMPD. Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Zolot of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.
Law enforcement are still looking for (see photos):