Brooklyn Man Charged With Murder To Obstruct Bank Fraud Investigation
A nine-count indictment was unsealed today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Naquan Reyes with the murder of Nicole Thompson to prevent her from communicating with federal law enforcement officials. Reyes was also charged with bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and related offenses. The indictment was returned under seal by a federal grand jury sitting in Brooklyn, New York, on April 16, 2014.
The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Brian A. Swain, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Secret Service, New York Field Office.
As alleged in the indictment and detention memorandum, since 2008, Reyes has perpetrated a scheme to defraud various banks. As part of the scheme, Reyes created counterfeit checks and recruited others to deposit those checks into their and others’ bank accounts. Reyes and his coconspirators then attempted to withdraw the funds from the bank accounts before the banks learned the checks were counterfeit. Among those he recruited to make the deposits was Nicole Thompson. On July 16, 2010, Thompson was arrested by the New York City Police Department in connection with her role in the scheme, and she immediately decided to cooperate with law enforcement. Just eight days after her arrest, on July 24, 2010, Thompson's body, duct taped and wrapped in garbage bags, was found in a dumpster in Landover, Maryland. When Reyes learned of Thompson's plans to cooperate and thereby jeopardize his ongoing fraud scheme, Reyes murdered her and then traveled from New York to Maryland to dispose of her body. Thompson was 24 years old at the time of her murder.
“As alleged, Naquan Reyes sat atop a scheme to defraud multiple banks using counterfeit checks, recruiting others to help perpetrate the scheme. When one of his recruits began to cooperate with law enforcement, Reyes decided that her life was forfeit, and killed her to protect the flow of ill-gotten gains. Today’s arrest should send a message to those who in any way tamper with witnesses to evade detection by law enforcement,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will relentlessly continue our investigation of such individuals until they are brought to justice.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the Prince George's County, Maryland Police Department, New York City Police Department, and Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for their significant cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
“Tampering with a witness is a serious crime. Murdering a witness in a vain attempt to obstruct justice is another matter altogether,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos.
“The Secret Service works in concert with federal, state, and local law enforcement to ensure our resources are being targeted to those criminal activities that are of high concern to local communities. We worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York City Police Department, and the Prince George’s County, MD Police Department to bring justice in this case. This investigation is just one example that proves the power of agency partnerships at every level in combating financial crimes,” said Secret Service Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Swain.
The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Kramer, Elizabeth Geddes, Samuel Nitze, and Karin Orenstein.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 14-CR-0227