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June 9, 2011

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(HOUSTON) – A Baptist minister who, along with his co-conspirator, used the personal identification information of victims to open fraudulent accounts at banks to defraud the victims of thousands of dollars has been sentenced to prison, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. 

United States District Judge Nancy Atlas sentenced Aundrea Jones, 51, of Muskogee, Okla., to 24 months imprisonment for his role in the scheme at a hearing yesterday afternoon. Jones pleaded guilty on Nov. 4, 2010, to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. As part of his sentence, Jones was ordered to pay $145,025 in restitution to the victims of the fraud scheme. Jones has been permitted to remain on bond pending a court order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future. Following the completion of his prison term, the court has further ordered Jones to serve a three-year-term of supervised release.

Beginning in the summer of 2007, Jones obtained the driver’s license, Social Security number and other personal information of a victim who resided outside of Joplin, Mo., by proposing a partnership with the victim and the victim’s brother to obtain a $200,000 bank loan to construct houses on church property in Muskogee. The loan was never obtained. Instead, Jones forwarded the victim’s personal information to co-defendant Brenda East by electronic mail. East and other conspirators proceeded to open more than a dozen accounts and lines of credit at Houston area bank branches under the victim’s name, all without his knowledge. On at least one occasion, Jones used his own cell phone to activate a credit card issued under one of the accounts in the victim’s name. All told, the defendant and East spent approximately $145,025 from accounts opened in the victim’s name. These funds were obtained through ATM withdrawals, checks which contained the victim’s forged signature as the payor and check card purchases.

In addition to Jones and East, three others involved in this fraud scheme have been convicted. East, along with another co-defendant, Jami McCoy, 33, of Humble, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft at the conclusion of a one-week trial in September 2009. On May 5, 2010, Judge Atlas sentenced East, 50, of Houston, to 58 months imprisonment. McCoy, who remained on bond pending sentencing, fled and remains a fugitive. On March 29, 2010, Jacquelin Campbell, 46, of Spring, Texas, was sentenced to six months imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Dolita Thigpen, 40, of Missouri City, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud on Sept. 28, 2010. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 17, 2011.  

Jones remains the senior pastor of the Old Agency Baptist Church in Muskogee, Okla.  

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney David Searle is prosecuting the case.

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