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Justice News

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

Monday, January 29, 2018

Men Sentenced for Recruiting Homeless to Cash Counterfeit Checks

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Three Georgia men have been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for recruiting individuals from local homeless shelters to cash counterfeit business checks.


Roderick Saunders, 30, of Atlanta, was sentenced today to 42 months, and Ka-Aron Powell, 26, of Stone Mountain, was sentenced to 65 months. Yumahnn Quashawn Brown, 30, of Atlanta, was sentenced to 75 months in prison on May 24, 2017.


According to their plea documents, Brown, Powell, and Saunders traveled from Georgia to Virginia and other states several times between August 2015 and August 2016, to steal mail, including business checks, from industrial parks and to cash counterfeit checks that had been made using the stolen checks as templates. During these trips, Brown and Powell traveled to homeless shelters, where Brown solicited individuals to perform construction and other day jobs. Brown and Powell then provided the recruits with clothing, food, cigarettes, and alcohol while transporting them to the other areas, often more than an hour away from their respective shelters. During these trips, Brown sent information about the recruited individuals to Saunders and other conspirators, who were transporting counterfeit checks and check-making tools in separate cars. These conspirators made the counterfeit checks payable to the homeless recruits in various amounts and provided them to Brown upon arrival in the targeted areas. Brown then told the homeless recruits that they would be cashing checks at nearby banks instead of performing the jobs he had described. In Virginia alone, the conspirators caused 30 homeless people to cash 70 counterfeit checks drawn on accounts belonging to 30 local businesses. The total value of these counterfeit checks was nearly $160,000.


Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Robert B. Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencings by U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin C. Gratton prosecuted the case.


This case was investigated through the U.S. Postal Inspection Services' White Collar Crimes Financial Task Force.


A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:16-cr-75.

Financial Fraud
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated January 29, 2018