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 Sean Christopher Williams, 40, of Sandy Springs, GA, was sentenced to three years in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $185,920 in restitution by United States District Court Judge John R. Padova for a nationwide bank fraud and identity theft scheme.
In February 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and attempt, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Williams used stolen identities to open fraudulent accounts at multiple banks, but he left the accounts unfunded. Williams then repeatedly transferred “funds” from one fraudulent account to another, knowing that the transferring account did not have any funds to support the transfer. Williams quickly used the receiving account to pay a variety of financial accounts in his name, including credit cards and student loans, before the receiving bank determined no funds were incoming. This scheme resulted in more than $185,000 in losses to the banks and impacted around 35 individual victims whose names and social security numbers were attached to the fraudulent accounts.
“This was a sophisticated fraud scheme with many victims from across the country, and it took top-notch investigative work to unravel,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Financial fraud and identity theft is often financially devastating for victims. Prosecuting these cases will continue to be a top priority of the United States Attorney’s Office.”
“Sean Williams not only defrauded multiple banks, he dragged dozens of innocent people into his scheme by stealing their identities,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “The impacts of identity theft can be serious and far-reaching for victims. Whether you take money that’s not yours or someone else’s personal information, the FBI is going to ensure you’re held accountable.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Rinaldi.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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