Two Charged in Fraud Scheme
PITTSBURGH – Two Pittsburgh men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of conspiracy and bank fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
The two-count indictment, returned on May 6 and unsealed today, named Eric Tyrone Bates, Jr., 27, and Herbert Butler, Jr., 27, as defendants.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2013, Bates and Butler conspired together to steal bank account information belonging to an account holder at Citizens Bank in Pittsburgh, information they used to create accounts at other banks which they controlled to make multiple withdrawals of cash. Bates is also charged separately for bank fraud in connection with another unauthorized access of a Citizens Bank account and subsequent withdrawals from the account. Some of the funds were used to buy automobiles.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 35 years in prison, a fine of $1,250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Western Pennsylvania Financial Crimes Task Force (WPFCTF) conducted the investigation that led to the indictment of Bates and Butler. The WPFCTF was established as a collaborative, multi-agency effort to effectively combat financial crimes, including identity fraud, in Western Pennsylvania. Partnering in this effort are 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 City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Pennsylvania State Police.
An indictment is an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.