Huntsville Man Indicted for Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
BIRMINGHAM -- A federal grand jury today indicted a Huntsville man on fraud and aggravated identity theft charges in connection with a scheme to steal and counterfeit business checks in November and December 2014, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Dyer.
An eight-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges that BERNARD EUGENE MCKINNEY II, 28, with the aid of others, counterfeited legitimate business checks that had been stolen from the U.S. mail, changed the payee names to himself or others, and then cashed the checks at north Alabama BBVA Compass Bank branches.
According to the indictment, McKinney would obtain stolen business checks or counterfeit checks. He would then forge the signature of the person who signed the original checks, which were used to make counterfeits, and/or change the name of the payee to his or other peoples’ names on the stolen business checks. McKinney would then cash, or assist others in cashing, the counterfeit checks and get cash for his personal use, thereby exposing the banks to financial loss.
The indictment’s six fraud counts list six fraudulent checks totaling nearly $53,000 cashed at BBVA branches.
The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The penalty for aggravated identity theft is a minimum two-year prison sentence served consecutively with any penalty imposed for a related crime, and a maximum $250,000 fine.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney David H. Estes is prosecuting.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.