United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Announces Participation in National Money Mule Initiative; Obtains Three Civil Injunctions Against Alleged Money Mules Involved in Lottery Scams
PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Robert Sean Harrington, 42, of Baltimore, MD, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $204,066 by United States District Judge Joseph F. Leeson, Jr. for aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
In September 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy and wire fraud. Harrington was one of nine men charged in a Superseding Indictment as part of a coordinated scheme that operated for over two years, between June 2016 and July 2018, with the purpose of committing identity theft in order to defraud various banks and Walmart, Inc., by presenting and cashing over $1,000,000 worth of counterfeit checks at Walmart stores throughout the United States.
All nine defendants in this case pleaded guilty to similar charges; many were previously sentenced and received the following sentences from Judge Leeson: Ahmad Becoate, 34, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 75 months in prison; Jeffrey Roach, 35, of Baltimore, MD, was sentenced to 94 months in prison; Jethro Richardson, 42, of Greensboro, NC, was sentenced to 70 months in prison; Nathaniel Jones, 41, of High Point, NC, was sentenced to 24 months in prison; Leander Rowell, 44, also of Greensboro, NC, was sentenced to 87 months in prison; and Brian Cherry, 45, of Charlotte, NC, was sentenced to 70 months in prison. All defendants were also ordered to pay substantial amounts of restitution.
“This was a sophisticated scheme involving many defendants that took excellent investigative work to unravel,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Financial fraud and identity theft harm hard-working individuals every day. Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute the perpetrators and seek justice for victims.”
“Passing stolen or counterfeit checks is as old a scheme as the concept of checks themselves,” said Damon Wood, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of Postal Inspection Service. “Investigating and prosecuting these cases is tedious but necessary work as it helps to maintain confidence in our economic system. Also, real people are the ones hurt by these schemes as they are forced to work with their banks to recoup their lost money, close compromised accounts and open new clean accounts. Thank you to the United States Attorney, the Secret Service, and the Office of Inspector General from the Social Security Administration for working with us on this case and many other similar cases.”
“This case exemplifies the shared commitment of Federal law enforcement agencies to combat large-scale identity theft that harms businesses and consumers,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “I want to thank the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, for their partnership as we work to maintain the integrity of the Social Security number as a key identifier.”
The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary E. Crawley.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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