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Press Release

Bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and illegal possession of firearm send man to prison for more than eight years

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS  —  A felon who admitted to passing stolen checks at a bank and to illegally possessing a gun during a standoff with law enforcement before his arrest was sentenced today to eight years and five months in prison and to five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.  

Jesse Lee Hopkins, 38, a transient, pleaded guilty in February, to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and prohibited person in possession a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

In court documents, the government alleged that Hopkins defrauded Stockman Bank by passing stolen and forged checks at branch offices to obtain money. Hopkins forged the signature of John Doe 1, a real person whom Hopkins knew was a real person. Hopkins cashed one of the stolen checks for $600 in March 2022. In August 2022, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, who had an arrest warrant for Hopkins, tracked him to a residence in Billings. Hopkins refused to come out and told officers he would shoot himself or force them to shoot him. After a while, Hopkins surrendered. Officers searched the residence and found a 9mm semi-automatic pistol in a room where Hopkins was located during the standoff. Hopkins has multiple state and federal felony convictions, including armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm and burglary, and was prohibited from possessing firearms.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin M. Rubich prosecuted the case. Homeland Security Investigations and the Billings Police Department investigated the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.



Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated May 8, 2023

Financial Fraud
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-144