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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Largo Woman Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Stealing $470,000 from her Employer


Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Mercy Coffie-Joseph, age 41, of Largo, Maryland, today to 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for wire fraud, money laundering, passport fraud and aggravated identity theft. Judge Titus also entered an order that Coffie-Joseph pay restitution of $472,148.52.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Niall Meehan of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.

According to evidence presented at her four day trial, from 2010 to February 2013, Coffie-Joseph used her position as an accounting manager at a Maryland company to fraudulently access the company’s bank accounts and transfer approximately $470,000 to bank accounts she controlled. She then used about $120,000 of those funds to buy a home in Ghana.

Coffie-Joseph also stole an individual’s identity and obtained a passport in the victim’s name, using her own picture, and then traveled to Ghana on the fraudulent passport, during which trip she visited the home she had purchased there with the fraudulently obtained money.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Thomas P. Windom, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Moeser, of the U.S. Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture & Money Laundering Section, who prosecuted the case.

Updated January 27, 2015