11 individuals in the Northeast Ohio area were charged today in a five-count indictment for participating in a conspiracy that stole mail from the United States Postal Service (USPS), obtained checks within that stolen mail, and altered, forged and duplicated those checks for financial gain.
Named in the indictment are Elijah S. Payne, 21, of Streetsboro; William D. Saunders, 21, of Cleveland Heights; Cameron J. Proctor, 20, of Willowick; Tavion L. Bolden, 22, of Cleveland; Rashawn J. Creer, 22, of Cleveland Heights; Maurice A. Mowler, 22, of Kent; Latrent M. Redrick, 25, of Cleveland, Janiya M. N. Smith, 22, of Richmond Heights; Lady M. Walker, 28, of Cleveland; Antoine R. Whitsett, 22, of Euclid and Tyrone Williams, 21, of Euclid.
Defendants Williams, Creer, Whitsett, Proctor, Mowler and Saunders were arrested by law enforcement authorities today and Defendant Bolden was previously arrested. Arrest warrants have been issued for the remaining defendants.
The defendants are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Defendant Payne is charged with additional counts of bank fraud and possession of stolen mail. Defendant Proctor is also charged with an additional count of theft of mail by a postal employee.
According to the indictment, the defendants are accused of participating in a conspiracy that stole checks from the U.S. mail and fraudulently altered and duplicated those checks to then be deposited with various banks. In order to execute their scheme, members of the conspiracy are accused of unlawfully accessing U.S. mail collection boxes using stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained collection box keys, sometimes directly from postal employees.
In one instance, it is alleged that Defendant Proctor, a postal employee at the time, stole mail in his custody and sold it, along with mail collection box keys, to other members of the conspiracy.
After obtaining and altering checks from the stolen mail, it is alleged that the conspirators used Instagram to recruit other co-conspirators to use their bank accounts to cash the stolen, altered and forged checks.
As a result of the scheme, the defendants caused an approximate loss of over $1.5 million.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal records, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) with assistance from the Cleveland Police Department, Rocky River Police Department, Middleburg Heights Police Department, Seven Hills Police Department and the United States Postal Service Office of the Inspector General (USPIS OIG). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason W. White.