West Haven Woman involved in Scheme to Steal COVID-19 Relief Funds from the City Sentenced to Prison
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MEEM JANNAT, 25, of Brooklyn, New York, formerly of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to seven months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for her role in a counterfeit check bank fraud scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, between approximately December 2017 and January 2019, Jannat and her co-conspirators, including Jonell Bonilla, Tania Cruz and Lilibeth Perez, obtained access to bank accounts by recruiting individuals through social media and persuading the individuals to share their account information, including debit cards and associated PIN numbers. The account holders were paid for providing access to their bank accounts. Jannat and her co-conspirators misrepresented to the account holders that U.S. Postal Service money orders or authentic checks would be deposited into their accounts. After the co-conspirators had access to the accounts, they deposited counterfeit checks into those accounts, and withdrew money from the accounts before the banks discovered the checks to be counterfeit.
The co-conspirators attempted to steal more than $500,000 through this scheme, and were successful in defrauding at least 12 banks of approximately $319,000.
Jannat has agreed that the loss attributable to her role in the scheme is $50,389.05. Judge Bryant will order restitution after additional court submissions.
Jannat was arrested on January 14, 2019. On July 1, 2020, she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Jannat, who is released on a $100,000 bond, is required to report to prison on December 16, 2020.
Bonilla, Cruz and Perez previously pleaded guilty to related charges and await sentencing. On September 12, 2020, Bonilla was sentenced to 46 months of imprisonment. Cruz and Perez await sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Pierpont, Jr.