News and Press Releases

Akron Women indicted for $300,000 Scam

Nov. 6, 2012

A federal grand jury today returned a five-count superseding indictment charging Toni Laverne Smith, age 59, and Melanie Finese Whittaker, age 47, both of Akron, Ohio, with conspiracy, interstate transportation of stolen securities, negotiating U.S. Treasury Bonds containing forged endorsements, fraudulent use of a Social Security account number, and aggravated identity theft, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The indictment charges that between on or about September 29, 2011, and on or about January 26, 2012, Smith and Whittaker knowingly transported in interstate commerce and passed, uttered and published approximately 373 stolen U.S. Treasury Bonds, with face values totaling $268,500, containing forged endorsements and signatures, and fraudulently used the Social Security account number of another individual to facilitate the offense and received proceeds totaling approximately $299,364.36.

The indictment also charges the defendants with knowingly transferring, possessing and using, the means of identification of another individual, without lawful authority, during and in relation to the misuse of the Social Security account number.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Kern, Identity Theft Coordinator for the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Cleveland Office of the United States Secret Service and the Cleveland Police Department.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


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