U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
July 12, 2011
CHECK CASHING SCHEME MASTERMIND SENTENCED TO
71 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR BANK FRAUD
9 others charged as willing participants in scheme netting more than $73,000
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Cranston, R.I., man who admitted to being the mastermind behind a check cashing scheme that defrauded several Rhode Island banks out of more than $73,000 was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence Tuesday to 71 months in federal prison, to be followed by 5 years supervised release.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Thomas M. Powers, Resident Agent in Charge of the Providence Office of the U.S. Secret Service announced the sentencing of Vincent A. Onorato, 37, who admitted to the Court in October 2010 that between February and June 2009 he masterminded a check cashing scheme that defrauded several Rhode Island banks of a total of $73,255.48. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi ordered Onorato to pay restitution to the banks.
“As I have said on numerous occasions, this Office is committed, and the Department of Justice is committed nationwide, to protecting banks and, more importantly, to protecting the people who work at them and who use them,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “Individuals who target banks, either through violence or through the kind of serious fraud alleged here, will continue to be a prosecutorial priority of this Office.”
According to court records and information presented to the court by federal prosecutors, Onorato masterminded a scheme in which he would obtain checks from small businesses and individuals through solicitations for donations in the name of various service organizations. Onorato altered the name of the payee and the amount of the check and cashed the checks. In some instances, participants in the scheme whose names were fraudulently entered on the check by Onorato would cash the checks for him. In return, Onorato provided them with a portion of the proceeds.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie S. Browne and Richard B. Myrus.
Nine others identified as willing participants in the scheme have also been charged in federal court with bank fraud.