Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Passing Counterfeit Checks at Local Big Lots Stores
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of uttering counterfeit checks, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Jonathan Brown, 23, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Brown obtained stolen identities and then, on April 14, 2011, negotiated counterfeit checks at Big Lots stores which he used to buy merchandise. The court was advised that Brown was involved in a larger check fraud scheme.
Judge Ambrose scheduled sentencing for April 9, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
Inspectors from the United States Postal Inspection Service along with agents from the United States Secret Service who as part of the Western Pennsylvania Financial Crimes Task Force (WPFCTF) conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Brown. The WPFCTF was established in February 1995 as a collaborative, multi-agency effort to effectively combat financial crimes, including identity fraud, in Western Pennsylvania. Partnering in this effort is the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, the Allegheny County Police Department, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Pennsylvania State Police.