Two Defendants Facing Federal Indictments for Aggravated Identity Theft in Connection with Separate Schemes
Used the Personal Information of Victims to Perpetrate a Fraud Scheme
Greenbelt, Maryland – Two defendants have been arrested on federal indictments charging them with aggravated identity theft and related counts arising from separate fraud schemes. Michelle Renee Marshall, age 46, of Washington, D.C., was arrested on Monday September 19, 2016, and to had her initial appearance today. She will have a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt at 3:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas DiGirolamo. Carlton W. Stuart, age 59, of Bowie, Maryland, was arrested and had his initial appearance on Friday, September 16, 2016. Stuart was released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services. The indictments were returned in August and unsealed upon the defendants’ appearance in U.S. District Court in Maryland.
The indictments were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Drew Grimm of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management - Office of Inspector General.
Marshall’s indictment alleges that between April and September 2014, Marshall represented to two victims that she would assist them in preparing and filing their federal income tax returns with the IRS. According to the indictment, Marshall obtained the victims’ PII, which she used to prepare and file their tax returns, with the tax refunds supposedly directed to the victims’ bank accounts. However, the victims never received any tax refunds. The indictment alleges that the tax returns directed the over $17,000 in tax refunds owed to the victims into bank accounts controlled by Marshall, not into the victims’ bank accounts.
According to Stuart’s indictment, he did not notify the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) of Victim A’s death on June 4, 2012. As a result, between July 2012 and March 2016, OPM continued to make monthly federal retirement and survivor annuity payments to Victim A, totaling $142,490.90. The indictment alleges that Stuart repeatedly forged Victim A’s signature on U.S. Treasury checks mailed to the victim as part of the retirement annuity, depositing the forged checks into the victim’s bank account. Further, the indictment alleges that Stuart repeatedly forged Victim A’s signature on checks drawn from the victim’s bank account and made payable to Stuart.
If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft. In addition, Marshall faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud; and Stuart faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for theft of government property.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
The Maryland Identity Theft Working Group has been working since 2006 to foster cooperation among local, state, federal, and institutional fraud investigators and to promote effective prosecution of identity theft schemes by both state and federal prosecutors. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Working Group, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to work with financial institutions and businesses to address identity fraud, identify those who compromise personal identity information, and protect citizens from identity theft.
Today’s announcement is part of the efforts undertaken in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established 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 fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended OPM – OIG for its investigation of Stuart and IRS-CI for its investigation of Marshall. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah J. Bressack, who is prosecuting both cases, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Pulice who is also prosecuting Marshall.