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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 31, 2014

Atlanta Man Sentenced To Eight Years’ Incarceration For Role In Counterfeit Check Conspiracy

RICHMOND, Va. – Brandon Jermaine Johnson, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced today to 96 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, on charges of bank fraud and conspiracy.  He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount $25,098.30.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia; Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Kathy A. Michalko, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney.

Johnson pleaded guilty on July 14, 2014.  According to court documents and evidence presented at the trial of co-defendant Rasheeda McConnell, Johnson was part of a group that stole business checks from commercial mailboxes and used them to make counterfeit checks. The group then recruited people from areas where the homeless or unemployed would congregate to cash the counterfeit checks.  In return, the check-cashers received a small sum of cash.  The remaining proceeds went to the recruiters.  Johnson recruited check-cashers and provided them with counterfeit checks.

Four other co-defendants in this case pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to terms of incarceration as follows:  Jeffrey Keith Barnes, II, 7 ½ months; Devante Carson, 33 months; Christopher Eugene Pope, 15 months; and Kevin Lavon Smith, 9 months.  Another co-defendant, Rasheeda McConnell, was convicted by a jury and sentenced to serve 60 months.  Co-defendant Damion Latoras Foster was arrested on September 16, 2014, and is currently set for trial on February 2, 2015.    

This case was part of Operation Homeless, a nationwide initiative being conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to aggressively prosecute groups that recruit the homeless and indigent to cash counterfeit checks.   It was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Secret Service, Chesterfield County Police Department, and Henrico County Police Department as members of the Metro-Richmond Identity Theft Task Force.  Prosecutions for the Task Force are handled by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles A. Quagliato and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael C. Moore are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:14-cr-28.

Updated March 26, 2015