Columbus Woman Convicted Of Cashing Stolen Treasury Checks
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that on September 25, 2014, Wytrenia Reynolds, aged 44, of Columbus, Georgia, was convicted in United States District Court for four counts of theft of government property, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and three counts of possession of stolen United States Treasury checks. The guilty verdict is the result of a four-day trial held in Columbus, Georgia.
Evidence presented at trial showed that in September 2010, Ms. Reynolds cashed or attempted to cash three stolen treasury checks at Navy Federal Credit Union in Columbus, Georgia. All three of these checks were payable to individuals living in the metro Atlanta, Georgia area. All three checks bore forged endorsements and were presented by Ms. Reynolds without the permission or authority of the intended recipient.
In October and November of 2010, Ms. Reynolds cashed thirteen stolen Treasury checks at a package store in Columbus, Georgia. The payees for these checks primarily were residents of the Atlanta, Georgia area, although two lived Alabama.
In January 2011, agents recovered three stolen Social Security checks in a vehicle leased by Ms. Reynolds. These checks were payable to elderly victims living in Thomaston, Georgia, and Ellenwood, Georgia.
In addition to the checks listed above, other government checks were found in Ms. Reynolds’ possession which were determined to be stolen by a worker or workers at the United States Post Office in Atlanta, Georgia. The total face value of the checks possessed, cashed, or attempted to be cashed by Ms. Reynolds was approximately $515,000.
Following her conviction, United States District Court Judge Clay D. Land ordered that Ms. Reynolds immediately be taken into custody pending sentencing, which is scheduled for January 27, 2015.
Both theft of government property and possession of stolen Treasury checks are punishable by up to ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each count of conviction. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said, “Identity theft is an ever-increasing problem across the
country. Victims have their lives invaded in a way that often causes long lasting financial
consequences; businesses are forced to implement costly security procedures; and consumers are left looking over their shoulders for fear that someone has stolen their personal information. With every check that is issued or every credit card that is swiped, we are vulnerable to criminals who are willing to steal our personal information for their own gain. As we put our resources into these cases, we are sending the message that if prosecuting identity thieves is a way to protect other victims, then that is exactly what my office will do.”
Special Agent in Charge Thomas Caul, Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration stated, “Social Security payments are a lifeline for many Americans who are unable to work due to a temporary or permanent disability. Our office is gratified by the U.S. Attorney’s shared commitment to investigate and prosecute those who defraud Social Security trust funds. One of our highest priorities is ensuring that those who steal SSA payments are swiftly detected and prosecuted. Social Security fraud affects all Americans. The individual convicted today is a testament to our serious commitment to pursuing those who would victimize Social Security beneficiaries."
“The Secret Service remains committed to protecting our nation’s financial security, to include aggressively investigating those responsible for stealing and cashing United States Treasury checks. Along with our law enforcement partners we will continue to pursue those committing these crimes,” said Clint A. Bush, Resident Agent in Charge, Albany, Georgia Resident Office, United States Secret Service.
The case was investigated by Special Agent Teresa Hudson of the United States Secret Service and Special Agent Pablo Griffiths of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Mel Hyde prosecuted the case for the Government.Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.