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Press Release

District Man Admits to Perpetrating Sophisticated Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Used False and Stolen Identification to Benefit and Enrich Himself

            WASHINGTON – Suzgo Phiri, 35, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today in District Court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. The plea was accepted by U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper who scheduled sentencing for June 13, 2023. Phiri faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison, plus possible fines and restitution.

            According to court documents, between 2018 and his arrest in March of 2022, Phiri - who used multiple false identities including: “Malcolm Tucker,” “David Campbell,” “Eric Brooks,” “Aaron Brooks,” “John Sanders,” “Jaamal Brooks,” “Brady Jones,” and “Payton Deel” – committed multiple fraud schemes.  In one fraud, he generated approximately $10,000 per week through a scheme that exploited weaknesses in the payment processing systems used by Square and American Express. The defendant moved fraudulent “tip” amounts that were instantly credited by Square to bank accounts that he had opened using one of many false identities and then quickly withdrew those funds before the fraud could be detected. The government has identified at least $300,000 in gross proceeds from that scheme.

            In addition to the fraudulent identity scheme, the government has identified numerous other instances in which the defendant has possessed false identification documents, bank records, and bank cards for individuals other than himself.

            This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service Washington Field Office, the Montgomery County Police Department, and the U.S. Capitol Police.

Updated February 21, 2023

Topic
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-90