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Press Release

Sixteen Defendants Indicted in Stolen U.S. Treasury Check Ring

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

ATLANTA – Sixteen defendants have been indicted for stealing over $10 million in U.S. Treasury checks from the mail and then cashing them at Walmart, Kroger, and other businesses using fake identifications.  The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 11, 2015.

“Georgia has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the worst states in the nation for stolen U.S. Treasury checks,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “This crime affects thousands of victims – including senior citizens, the disabled, and veterans – who go to their mailbox looking for a needed check only to discover that it has been stolen by criminals and identity thieves.  These sixteen defendants are charged with stealing over $10 million in U.S. Treasury checks in Georgia and traveling around the country to cash them.”

“Check fraud is one of the largest challenges facing financial institutions and businesses today. The United States Secret Service will continue to collaborate with its law enforcement partners to target and arrest individuals who steal from unsuspecting victims,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to protecting the U.S. Mail and taking an aggressive stance on those who violate federal statutes that protect the American Public. We value the investigative efforts with our federal partners and thank the U.S. Attorney's Office for continuing to protect innocent victims.” said Thomas Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division.

“Social Security payments are a lifeline for many Americans.  We are pleased with the aggressive action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners that resulted in these indictments,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas Caul, SSA/Office of the Inspector General.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court:  Maurice Shuler and Milton Minter are alleged to have received stolen U.S. Treasury checks that were taken from the mail before reaching their intended recipients.  The stolen checks included tax refund, Social Security, and Veteran Benefits checks.  After receiving the checks, Shuler and Minter provided them to a network of check cashers, including 14 of the defendants charged here, who negotiated the stolen checks, mainly at Walmart and Kroger stores.  The defendants used fake driver’s licenses to pose as the check payees and forged the payees’ signatures on the back of the checks.  They also used other individuals’ Social Security numbers to cash the checks.  In an effort to avoid detection, the defendants traveled to different states, including Alabama, Mississippi, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, and Tennessee, to cash the stolen checks.  The defendants are charged with  cashing thousands of stolen U.S. Treasury checks worth over $10 million.

The indictment charges the following individuals with conspiracy, theft of U.S. money, and aggravated identity theft:

  • Maurice Shuler, a/k/a Fred, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Gino Shuler, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Chucky Ransom, 41, of Decatur, Georgia,
  • Sepater Ransom, 27, of Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Damontra Ransom, a/k/a Pop, 20, of Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Milton Minter, a/k/a White Boi, 31, of Riverdale, Georgia,
  • Brian K. Hightower, a/k/a Big, 33, of Stockbridge, Georgia,
  • Angela L. Williams, 40, of Stockbridge, Georgia,
  • Charles E. Bolton, Jr., a/k/a Lightpole Jones, 26, of College Park, Georgia,
  • Mariah C. Clark, 24, of Loganville, Georgia,
  • Lovely Richardson, 27, of Fairburn, Georgia,
  • Osiris O. Hernandez, 23, of Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Kimbela Jordan, 19, of Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Raymon D. Gales, 26, of Atlanta, Georgia,
  • Jeremy Arnold, 28, of Riverdale, Georgia, and
  • Rodrekus R. Harris, 26, of Blakely, Georgia.

The 83-count indictment was unsealed and the defendants were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the United States Secret Service; United States Postal Inspection Service; Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; and Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General.

Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen H. McClain and Chris Bly are prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

Updated April 23, 2015

Topic
Financial Fraud