Birmingham Woman Sentenced For Multi-State Identity Theft Conspiracy
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Birmingham woman to more than six years in prison for her role in a multi-state identity-theft and counterfeit-check scheme that included recruiting homeless people to cash the fraudulent checks, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Keith Morris, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr., and U.S. Secret Service Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Anderson.
DAPHNE COLLETTE TATE, 42, pleaded guilty in April to conspiring with five other people to defraud more than two dozen banks in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. She also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, possessing a business check stolen from the U.S. mail, and possessing a counterfeit check. U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced her to six years and two months in prison for those crimes.
The five other defendants charged along with Tate in the multi-state identity-theft conspiracy are Tate's cousin, KEITH LAMAR REESE, 46, also of Birmingham, and four Atlanta-area residents, COLUNDRIA SEATS, 37, DEMARIO S. MORMON, 27, CLIFFTON A. MORMON, 30, and BRETT E. FALCONER, 27.
Reese and Falconer have pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. DeMario Mormon remains a fugitive. Seats was arrested in June; Cliffton Mormon was arrested in July, and their cases are proceeding toward trial.
According to Tate's indictment and other court records, Tate and other conspirators conducted their scheme in Alabama, Georgia and Florida between September 2011 and February 2013 as follows:
They obtained account and routing information for various businesses’ legitimate checking accounts in at least 25 banks through various means, including stealing checks from the mail and engaging people who had access to account information. Falconer was employed by Regions Bank and accessed the bank’s records for the conspiracy during her employment. Falconer provided co-conspirators with information from Regions’ accounts and from checks presented at Regions Bank. Other conspirators, including Demario and Cliffton Mormon, used that genuine account and routing information to manufacture counterfeit business checks.
Tate, Seats and Reese would locate people, often the homeless, who had government-issued identification cards and would join the conspiracy as check-cashers. Tate, Seats, Reese and other co-conspirators would transport the check-cashers to locations where they would cash or attempt to cash the counterfeit checks. Members of the conspiracy would divide the proceeds of the successfully cashed checks among themselves.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Pelham, Trussville and Vestavia Hills police departments, with assistance from Regions Bank corporate investigators. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa K. Atwood is prosecuting the case.