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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – In an eighteen-count indictment unsealed today, six men were charged by a federal grand jury with aggravated identity theft, fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.
The men charged in the indictment are: Ray Ekobena, 27, of Alexandria; Stefan Ekobena, 24, and Gani Cole, 27, both of Atlanta, Georgia; Rodney Hardy, 25, of Hyattsville, Maryland; Deallto Davis, 20, and Jerome Johnson, 32, both of Washington, D.C.
According to the indictment, since at least 2009, Ray Ekobena led a conspiracy involving his five co-defendants and others, the goal of which was to defraud financial institutions through the deposit of fraudulent and stolen checks. The conspirators would recruit other individuals via social media websites (such as Instagram) to provide debit cards and personal information in exchange for a cash payment. The conspirators would then deposit fraudulent checks into the accounts of the debit cardholders and withdraw the money before the banks discovered the fraud. The conspirators also stole real checks, including two checks totaling $223,570.00 that were intended for the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
The indictment further alleges that Ray Ekobena stole social security numbers and other personal identifying information and used them to further his fraudulent schemes. For example, Ekobena used some of the stolen social security numbers to obtain identification from the District of Columbia bearing a photo of Ekobena, but a victim’s name and date of birth. Ekobena also used stolen personal information to obtain financing to buy or lease several vehicles, including a Mercedes.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; David M. McGinnis, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, made the announcement after the indictment was unsealed.
This case is being investigated by the USPIS, the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and the Fairfax County Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph V. Longobardo are prosecuting 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. 1:15-cr-180.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.