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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force Investigation Results In Charges Against 28 For Identity Theft, Check Counterfeiting, And Bank Fraud Conspiracy

United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the indictment of 25 members of a bank fraud conspiracy in which conspirators stole or attempted to steal more than $2 million by manufacturing counterfeit checks and cashing them, along with other fraudulent checks, at dozens of banks and check cashing facilities.1 Three additional defendants have been charged by information for related crimes. Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers today, under the auspices of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force (MNFCTF), executed arrest warrants in Minnesota, Oregon, and North Dakota. Defendants are making initial appearances today in U.S. District Court in St. Paul before Magistrate Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes.

“The indictment of the Sienemah Gaye Organization effectively shuts down a pervasive identity theft and bank fraud conspiracy in the Twin Cities,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “This case is representative of a recurring trend – the migration of traditional street criminals to white collar fraud. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors, working in close collaboration through the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, were able to put together the pieces of hundreds of attempted instances of alleged fraud to build today’s conspiracy indictment. I am grateful to my partners in law enforcement for their superb investigative work continuing to stay ahead of those who seek to commit fraud.”

Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Assistant Superintendent Drew Evans, said: “These criminals targeted Minnesotans, local businesses and financial institutions. The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force together with its local and federal partners worked across jurisdictions to bring the conspiracy to light, identify the players and bring them to justice. When criminals aren't bound to one jurisdiction, this kind of criminal justice partnership puts us in the best position to stop them.”

Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service in Minneapolis Louis Stephens, said: “Today's law enforcement operation involved over 75 federal, state and local law enforcement officers and is the culmination of thousands of investigative man hours involving the efforts of 12 different law enforcement agencies working collaboratively with private industry and federal prosecutors under the auspices of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force. Today, thanks to talented investigators, analysts and prosecutors, a significant identity theft ring adept at victimizing Minnesota businesses and citizens is no longer in business.”

Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Karl Stiften, said: "The individuals indicted today thought they could use trickery and deception for financial gain. What they didn't count on was the financial expertise of IRS Criminal Investigation special agents. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to be a part of the powerful law enforcement team that stopped this alleged criminal activity."

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, from at least November 14, 2007, until September 11, 2013, the conspiracy, using fraudulently obtained and otherwise compromised account information, manufactured counterfeit checks with blank check stock and check-printing software, which they distributed to other members of a bank fraud conspiracy to cash at dozens of different banks and other financial institutions. The check manufacturers, including SIENEMAH TERRANCE GAYE, FINOH SAHR FILLIE, and KARZIL RENALDO CANNEDY, worked with “recruiters,” who were responsible for distributing the fraudulent checks they obtained from GAYE and FILLIE. The recruiters directed “check runners” to cash fraudulent checks at banks or check cashing establishments. In some instances, the check runners opened bank accounts in their own names in which they would deposit fraudulent checks and later withdraw for cash. Other members of the conspiracy, including GAYE, FILLIE, JEFFREY GBOR, JR., JAMES CAPEHART, III, ANTHONY KUGMEH, and BAI KIAWOIN, used stolen personally identifiable information and fraudulent checks to open new bank accounts. After opening these new accounts, the conspirators were issued blank personal checks that they used to engage in fraudulent transactions. Each member of the conspiracy took a portion of the proceeds of the fraud.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, three primary counterfeit check manufacturers, twelve recruiters, and seven runners are charged at this time. GAYE, FILLIE, and CANNEDY used various means of obtaining account information to make counterfeit checks, including getting access to sensitive account information through two bank insiders. FELISHA HASSIM was a branch manager at a TCF Bank branch and ANNESA HASSIM was a teller at a Central Bank branch. Both FELISHA and ANNESA HASSIM facilitated the conspiracy by using their access to legitimate account information to provide the manufacturers with account numbers and balance information. A third facilitator, TIMOTHY TILLMAN, who worked as a door-to-door meat salesman, provided to the conspiracy copies of the legitimate checks he received from customers as payment, which were then used to manufacture fraudulent checks.

According to documents filed in court, in December 2012, a recruiter named JEFFREY GBOR, JR., approached FELISHA HASSIM and asked her to provide him with bank account and checking information, to which she had access through her position with the bank. HASSIM provided copies of cashed or deposited checks to GBOR on multiple occasions, and she facilitated fraudulent transactions by assisting check runners with the deposit of counterfeit checks and the immediate withdrawal of cash based on the deposit of those counterfeit checks. GBOR also communicated with HASSIM via text message to determine if specific accounts had sufficient funds for the conspiracy to engage in fraudulent transactions.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, the defendants also obtained account numbers and bank routing information through research on the social media website Instagram. Members of the conspiracy accessed compromised account information posted by unrelated persons using the #myfirstpaycheck hashtag, among others. The conspiracy also obtained account information of legitimate business and personal accounts by stealing checks.

The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force (MNFCTF) protects and serves the public by investigating financial crimes related to identity theft, with a special emphasis on organized criminal enterprises. The MNFCTF is comprised of multi-jurisdictional law enforcement agencies working together to provide investigative expertise and resources. The MNFCTF includes representatives from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, United States Secret Service, Edina Police Department, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted jointly under the auspices of the MNFCTF by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, United States Secret Service, Edina Police Department, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, Ramsey County Sherriff’s Office, St. Paul Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, United States Marshal Service, Plymouth Police Department, and United States Diplomatic Security Service.

U.S. Attorney Luger thanked TCF Bank and Central Bank for their assistance in the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lola Velazquez-Aguilu.

Defendant Information:

SIENEMAH TERRANCE GAYE, 30
Anoka, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 20 counts
• Aggravated Identity Theft, 2 counts

FINOH SAHR FILLIE, 28
Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 5 counts
• Aggravated Identity Theft, 1 count

KARZIL RENALDO CANNEDY, 23
Sherburne County Jail

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 5 counts

JAMES LUELLYING CAPEHART, III, 31
Brooklyn Center, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 2 counts
• Aggravated Identity Theft, 1 count

JEFFREY DULWONH GBOR, 26
Minnesota Correctional Facility – St. Cloud

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 11 counts
• Aggravated Identity Theft, 1 count

LARRY WLEAH BORTEH, 29
Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

ANTHONY TARPEH KUGMEH, 32
Coon Rapids, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 3 counts
• Aggravated Identity Theft, 1 count

SAMUEL GAYAH KARMO, 33
Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

SAMBA ERIC KONDEH KAMARA, 25
St. Paul, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 2 counts

FULTON KPENEON BADIO, 27
Fargo, N.D.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 3 counts

KHAN Z GBOR, 23
Columbia Heights, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

———————————————

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 2 counts

PRINCE KORBOI SUMOSO, 29
Fargo, N.D.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 3 counts

BAI ALBERT KIAWOIN, 23
Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 2 counts
• Aggravated Identity Theft, 1 count

VICTOR JERRY MASSALY, 30
St. Paul, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 3 counts

FELISHA HASSIM, 20
Blaine, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 4 counts

ANNESA HASSIM, 23
Blaine, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 2 counts

TIMOTHY JASON TILLMAN, 30
Gervais, Ore.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

MALCOLM LOUIS CORNELL, 24
Minneapolis, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

KLEME DOGBO SAMOLU, 24
Waterloo, Iowa

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

AYESHA VERNEDER MCKINNEY, 26
Atlanta, Ga.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

JOHNSON SAYONKON, 31
Richfield, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

MAURICE LERON GRIFFIN, 25
Minneapolis, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

KAELA MONAE LEWIS, 22
St. Paul, Minn.

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

OWEN MENSOHN GBORPLAY, 25
Minnesota Correctional Facility – St. Cloud

Charges:
• Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, 1 count
• Bank Fraud, 1 count

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The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

 

Updated April 30, 2015