North Port Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Unauthorized Access Devices
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Michael Wesley (40, North Port) has pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of unauthorized access devices. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison on each count.
According to the plea agreement, between November 2011 and May 2014, Wesley was engaged in a fraud scheme in which he would obtain checks that had been written by victim bank account holders and stolen from United States Postal Service mailboxes. Wesley would then use the personal information printed on these stolen checks to cash, at the victim’s own bank, worthless checks made payable to the victim but had been written on closed accounts from other banking institutions. In this manner, Wesley frequently obtained cash from federally insured financial institutions. On multiple occasions, and at different locations over several years, ranging from Lee, Manatee, and Hillsborough Counties, Florida law enforcement officers found Wesley to be in possession of numerous such checks and theft paraphernalia. Each check was an unauthorized access device containing the account holder’s personal information, bank account, and routing numbers. None of the victim account holders had authorized Wesley to possess or use those checks.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Sheriff’s Offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Seminole, and County, and the Florida Highway Patrol. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.