Atlanta Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Charges
RICHMOND, Va. – Damion Latoras Foster, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty today to charges of Conspiring to Commit Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft.
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 Douglas F. Mease, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney.
Foster was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 7, 2014. He faces a maximum penalty of 32 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 21, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Foster admitted that he 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. The check-cashers received a small sum of cash for cashing counterfeit checks made payable to them. The remaining proceeds went to the recruiters. Foster’s fingerprints were found on a laptop computer, stolen checks, and other items shipped from a Richmond FedEx store on February 6, 2014, the date co-defendants Brandon Jermaine Johnson and Devante Carson were arrested. Forensic analysis of the laptop computer revealed digital images of counterfeit checks created using stolen business checks as exemplars. Foster’s fingerprints were also found on counterfeit checks passed in Kansas City, Missouri and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was arrested at a hotel in Jacksonville, Florida on September 16, 2014, and found in possession of a computer, scanner, printer, check stock, and business checks apparently stolen from the U.S. Mail.
Five other co-defendants in this case pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to terms of incarceration as follows: Brandon Jermaine Johnson, 96 months, 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.
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.