New York Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
NORFOLK, Va. – Jeffrey Washington, 36, of New York, NY, pled guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U. S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen.
Washington was charged in a criminal indictment returned on May 12, 2014, with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, ten counts of bank fraud, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, and two counts of interstate transportation of property converted or taken by fraud. Washington faces a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years in prison on the bank fraud charge and a $1,000,000 fine, and a maximum penalty of a mandatory two (2) years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charge and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced on December 5, 2014, in Norfolk.
According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Washington was a leader of a group that conspired to steal identity and financial information from Wells Fargo Mortgage offices. There were twelve Wells Fargo offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey that were the subject of burglaries from 2012 through 2014. Over 1,800 mortgage files were stolen that contained identity and financial information. The Wells Fargo mortgage customers had bank accounts at various financial institutions including Wells Fargo Bank, M&T Bank, PNC Bank, Capital One Bank, and TD Bank.
From 2012 – 2013, Washington and other conspirators traveled from New York to Virginia and other states along the East Coast in order to conduct the scheme. They impersonated various bank customers, using counterfeit identifications created from the stolen personal information, and opened business accounts in fake business names in order to drain legitimate customer accounts at various banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In August 2013, conspirator Alice Howard was arrested in the course of impersonating a bank customer at a Wells Fargo bank branch in Ashland, Virginia. Howard was charged with the same scheme and was sentenced to sixty-five (65) months imprisonment in April 2014. Following Howard’s arrest, Washington continued his involvement in obtaining mortgage files through the burglaries of other mortgage offices. Currently, two other individuals have been charged in the scheme.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Newport News Police Department. Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian Samuels is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.