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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

April 5, 2012

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

Two Handed Sentences for Roles in Bank Fraud Scam

HOUSTON - Voncil Felder, 23, and Netfa Lowe, 34, both of Houston, have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Both previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud before U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon. Lowe also entered a guilty plea to access device fraud. Today, Judge Harmon handed Felder and Lowe sentences of 27 and 84 months in prison, respectively. They will also serve a five-year-term of supervised release following completion of their prison terms. Co-defendants Iba Lowe, 35, of Houston, and Stephen Jerome Wilson, 25, of San Antonio, Texas, are set for sentencing on May 18, and June 22, 2012, respectively.

The purpose of the conspiracy was to defraud Chase banks located in the greater Houston area, which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The Lowes paid recruiters, and recruited individuals themselves, to open Chase debit card accounts for the sole purpose of obtaining the debit cards for those accounts. Wilson was paid for recruiting individuals to open up bank accounts.

Brothers Iba and Netfa Lowe received the debit cards from Wilson and other recruiters and then inserted fraudulent, valueless checks into the bank accounts via ATMs. Once the fraudulent checks had been credited to the accounts, Iba and Netfa Lowe would make withdrawals and large ticket electronic item purchases at Wal-Mart stores based on the funds supplied via the deposits of the fraudulent checks. The Lowes stored the large ticket items in U-Haul vans that Felder helped to rent until they could return the items for cash. The Lowes used this cash to pay recruiters and recruits and to continue the fraudulent scheme.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the United States Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Leuchtmann and Carolyn Ferko prosecuted the case.