New Haven Man Admits Stealing More Than $160K from Retired Woman's Bank Account
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that GREGORY IVY, 23, of New Haven, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to one count of bank fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2018, Ivy began working for a retired woman (“the victim”), doing odd jobs for her. In October 2018, Ivy began to steal checks from the victim’s checkbook while in her home. He then wrote checks payable to himself, forged the victim’s signature on the checks, and deposited the checks into his personal credit union account. Ivy also gave stolen blank checks on which he had forged the victim’s signature to another individual, who then cashed or deposited the checks. That individual then recruited other individuals, including Lamont Bethea, to cash or deposit stolen checks on which Ivy had forged the victim’s signature.
Bethea used the information on the stolen checks, including the bank routing number and the victim’s bank account number, to arrange electronic funds transfers (EFTs) from the victim’s bank account to make payments for himself, his family members, and other friends or acquaintances. Bethea used these EFTs to pay credit cards bills, rent, car insurance, student loans, cell phone bills, and other payments for himself and others. Bethea also provided the victim’s routing and bank account numbers to other individuals so they could arrange similar EFTs for themselves and others from the victim’s account.
Ivy, Bethea and other participants attempted to obtain a total of $624,818.28 from the victim’s bank account. Because the victim’s bank account became overdrawn, some attempted check deposits or EFTs were reversed, resulting in a loss to the victim of $479,569.08. Ivy personally stole $162,942 from the victim during his involvement in the scheme, which lasted until May 2021.
Judge Dooley scheduled sentencing for December 21, at which time Ivy faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years.
Ivy was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on November 8, 2021. He is released on a $50,000 bond pending sentencing.
Bethea and his family members and friends stole more than $131,000 from the victim. On September 1, 2022, Bethea pleaded guilty to fraud offenses stemming from this scheme and a separate, unrelated scheme. He awaits sentencing.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of Bank of America. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon.
The Justice Department has established a National Elder Fraud Hotline to provide services to seniors who may be victims of financial fraud. The Hotline is staffed by experienced case managers who can provide personalized support to callers. Case managers assist callers with reporting the suspected fraud to relevant agencies and by providing resources and referrals to other appropriate services as needed. When applicable, case managers will complete a complaint form with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for Internet-facilitated crimes and submit a consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the caller. The Hotline’s toll free number is 833-FRAUD-11 (833-372-8311). For more information, please visit. https://ovc.ojp.gov/program/stop-elder-fraud/providing-help-restoring-hope.