Newport News Men Sentenced for Participation in Scheme to Defraud Hampton Roads Financial Institutions
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Preston Frazier, 22, and Keandre Williams, 25, of Newport News, were sentenced today to 64 and 75 months in prison, respectively, for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. They were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $103,463.11.
Frazier and Williams pleaded guilty on Sept. 28, 2015. According to court documents, beginning in August 2014, Frazier and Williams, along with co-conspirators Shameek Owens, Kendall Anderson, and others, undertook a scheme to defraud financial institutions in Hampton and Newport News, including Wells Fargo, Langley Federal Credit Union, Bayport Credit Union and Navy Federal Credit Union. All four individuals recruited account holders of these financial institutions to provide their debit cards and personal identification numbers (PIN), for a period of time in exchange for monetary payment. Members of the conspiracy would then deposit worthless and stolen checks, and altered money orders into the compromised accounts using various ATM’s located throughout Hampton Roads. Policies of the targeted financial institutions authorized immediate access to funds deposited by check in this manner. Following the deposits, members of the conspiracy would withdraw the maximum allowable amount from the ATM’s during the initial transaction and then conduct additional withdrawals at other ATM’s in order to obtain the maximum daily withdrawal amount. They would also use the compromised debit cards to conduct large purchases at local retailers and later return the items for cash. Frazier and Williams were identified, alone and with others, conducting the fraudulent deposits and withdrawals through video recordings captured by the targeted financial institutions.
Owens pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2015, and will be sentenced on Jan. 25, 2016. Anderson pleaded guilty on Oct. 20, 2015, and will be sentenced on Feb. 10, 2016.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis. This investigation was coordinated by the Newport News Financial Crimes Task Force, an interagency partnership between Federal, State and local investigators to investigate and prosecute financial fraud cases in Virginia. The task force is comprised of several agencies, including the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. State Department, Newport News Police Department, Hampton Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kaitlin C. Gratton and Brian J. Samuels prosecuted the case.
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. 4:15cr43.