News and Press Releases

LEADER OF BANK FRAUD RING SENTENCED TO 6+ YEARS IN PRISON
Recruited Naive Bank Customers to Allow Fraudulent Transactions in Their Accounts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2009

DERICO MONTREY FULLER, 29, of Lynnwood, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 75 months in prison, 5 years of supervised release and $564,834 in restitution for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Social Security Number Fraud. FULLER was the leader of a bank fraud ring that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks and financial institutions. FULLER recruited many young people with promises of easy cash, convincing them that they would not face any consequences for allowing him to use their bank accounts to deposit fraudulent checks, and then withdraw large amounts of cash. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman told him, “You were the guy everybody turned to....you led a lot of people into trouble.”

According to records filed in the case, FULLER and his co-conspirators executed a scheme from March 2007, until February 2008, that involved depositing fake payroll checks into bank accounts to boost the account balance and then withdrawing large amounts of cash before the checks bounced. When law enforcement searched the home where FULLER had been living, they found a computer printer that had been used to print checks payable to 73 different account holders, worth more than $640,000. In this scheme the conspirators recruited others to give them their ATM card and PIN number. They would tell those who provided this information to report their card lost or stolen in a few days. Once the balance of the account was falsely inflated, and the cash drained, the account owner would claim to be a victim instead of a willing participant in the fraud.

In asking for a lengthy prison sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa said the scheme damaged not just the banks, but the young people who got involved. “...many of these young account holders have faced severe consequences for their actions including State and Federal prosecutions for their involvement in the fraud, and severe damage to their credit ratings
at the very beginning of their adult life. Mr. Fuller is a classic fraud-pimp who has preyed upon the vulnerabilities of others to further his goals,” Mr. Barbosa wrote to the court.

As part of his 75 month sentence, FULLER will serve a 24 month consecutive sentence for Aggravated Identity Theft for the wholesale adoption of another person’s identity. FULLER used the other person’s personal identifying information to finance multiple cars and get identity documents. FULLER was able to avoid arrest at a traffic stop by sticking to his adopted identity and claiming he was the victim of identity theft. The victim of FULLER’s identity theft is still dealing with the consequences of having creditors and car repo firms believing he is responsible for FULLER’s fraudulent purchases.

A half dozen of FULLER’s co-conspirators have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from a few months in prison to 21 months in prison.

When FULLER addressed the court he thanked the federal investigators who arrested him saying, “They saved me from myself... I would be in more trouble or maybe even dead,” if they had not ended his crime spree.

FULLER was arrested February 13, 2008, and pleaded guilty January 22, 2009.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, Social Security Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), King County Sheriff, and the U.S. Marshals Pacific Northwest Fugitive Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office working group on Identity Theft.

For additional information, please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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