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Press Release

Philadelphia Woman Charged For Role In Bank Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – Charlene Leak, 46, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was charged today by indictment with conspiracy and bank fraud, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.  The indictment alleges that in 2009, Leak worked as a check runner in a $1.2 million check fraud conspiracy run by Phillip Eric Weems, who has since pleaded guilty for his role in leading the conspiracy, and who was sentenced in February 2014 by U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez to 121 months’ incarceration. 

According to the indictment, in her role assisting Weems in running bad checks, Leak, along with other co-conspirators, opened personal and corporate bank accounts at various financial institutions, incorporated sham corporations to further the conspiracy, and caused counterfeit and forged securities to be created and drawn on the accounts of the sham corporations.  Leak and her co-conspirators then used the counterfeit and forged securities to pay for goods and property knowing that the various bank accounts had no or insufficient funds in the accounts.  According to the indictment, Leak was responsible for an intended loss of $317,890.61.

If convicted of all charges, the defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 35 years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, three years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment. 

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James A. Petkun and Ashley K. Lunkenheimer.


An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated April 14, 2016

Financial Fraud