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Press Release

Woman Pleads Guilty to Fraud and Drug Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Burke woman pleaded guilty today to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Shawnirah M. Mickens, 35, acquired stolen personal identification information (PII) of more than 300 people who lived throughout the United States. Mickens used the stolen PII to open multiple bank accounts and would subsequently fund those accounts with minimal cash deposits and large counterfeit corporate checks. The bank would immediately make available a portion of the deposited checks. Mickens would then quickly withdraw cash, make point of sale purchases, or conduct wire transfers of the floated funds before the bank could determine that the accounts were fraudulent and the checks were worthless. Once the bank learned of the fraud it would close the account and Mickens would move on to the next account and the next victim. The loss amount is in the $250,000 to $550,000 range.

Additionally, during the course of the investigation, agents recovered a package containing approximately 120 grams of methamphetamine being mailed to P.O. Box rented by Mickens and used to further the bank fraud scheme. When Mickens was arrested in May, agents conducted a search of her residence and recovered evidence relating to the bank fraud as well as another 150 grams of methamphetamine.

Mickens pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Mickens faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for the bank fraud, two additional years in prison for the aggravated identity theft, and a mandatory minimum of 5 years but not more than 40 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine when sentenced on September 6. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Charles Dayoub, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Colonel Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan P. Geary are prosecuting the case.

This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, which is composed of FBI Agents and domestic and international law enforcement partners.

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 are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-184.

Updated June 12, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Financial Fraud