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Press Release

Six Defendants Charged in “Card Cracking” Scheme That Targeted U.S. Military Members

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

CHICAGO — Six suburban men have been indicted on fraud charges for their alleged roles in a “card cracking” scheme that targeted members of the U.S. military and defrauded a federally-insured savings bank out of more than $830,000.

The defendants deposited counterfeit checks into accounts at USAA Federal Savings Bank belonging to military members and others who had been recruited to provide their account information, according to the 53-count indictment. After depositing the checks, the defendants withdrew funds from the accounts which the bank had advanced before it learned the checks were counterfeit, the indictment states. The scheme spanned more than two years and defrauded the bank out of more than $830,000, the indictment states.

The indictment was returned June 15, 2017, in federal court in Chicago. Charged with bank fraud are KIERRE PERKINS, 22, of South Holland; STEVEN VANCE, 22, of Calumet City; IAN MYVETT, 23, of South Holland; LAMONTE POWELL, 24, of Calumet City; TOREY MARTIN, 24, of Calumet City; and JERMEL SANDERS, 29, of Matteson. Arraignments in federal court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and John A. Koleno, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Secret Service.

According to the charges, the defendants used postings on social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, among other means, to recruit USAA Federal Savings Bank customers to provide their debit cards and PINs. The postings, which featured individuals in camouflage military uniforms holding large amounts of cash, advertised opportunities to earn money in a short amount of time, according to criminal complaints and affidavits previously filed in the case. When a USAA Federal Savings Bank customer responded to a posting, the schemers would falsely reply that the customer could receive money if they provided their account information, including usernames, passwords, PINs and answers to security questions, according to the charges. In some instances the bank customers provided their actual debit cards to the defendants as well, the charges state.

After obtaining the account information, some of the defendants deposited counterfeit checks into the accounts, the charges state. They would then withdraw the portion of the purported funds that the bank had credited shortly after the deposit, leaving the bank to bear the loss, the charges state.

Some of the defendants created the counterfeit checks and used account and routing information from other, unsuspecting bank account holders, the charges state. Others posted pictures and videos on their social media accounts containing bank receipts from victim bank account holders, the charges state.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian S. Wallach and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared C. Jodrey.

Updated June 20, 2017

Indictment [PDF, ]
Financial Fraud