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Justice News

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

Friday, August 9, 2013

St. Paul Man Sentenced For Bank Fraud

MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court, a 37-year-old St. Paul man was sentenced for fraudulently obtaining funds from several financial institutions. On August 8, 2013, United States District Judge David S. Doty sentenced Christopher Terrelle Harness to 81 months in prison on one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Harness was indicted on November 20, 2012, and pleaded guilty on March 11, 2013.

In his plea agreement, Harness admitted that from October 2007 through July 2012, he fraudulently obtained money from banks. Specifically, he and others, at his direction, opened accounts into which they deposited checks they knew were stolen or not backed by sufficient funds. Then, they made ATM withdrawals from the falsely inflated balances. In total, the victimized financial institutions sustained losses of between $30,000 and $400,000 because of this crime.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Perzel and Manda M. Sertich.

The Financial Crimes Task Force was established pursuant to state law and is comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement investigators dedicated to combating the growing problem of cross-jurisdictional financial crimes. The task force, overseen by an advisory board also created under state law, serves the entire District of Minnesota, presenting its cases to county or federal prosecutors, as appropriate.

The task force and the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office want to remind people to protect themselves from identity theft. For more information, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov/protect-identity.html

For more information on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, visit https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/IdentityTheft.aspx



Updated April 30, 2015