Five Members of International Organized Criminal Enterprise Indicted in More Than $9.5 Million Counterfeit Documents Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON – Five of six alleged members of an international criminal conspiracy were arrested and appeared before the Court in Dallas, Texas on charges related to their alleged roles in an international fraud scheme that has used counterfeit driver’s licenses and counterfeit money orders to obtain monies from victim bank accounts around the United States.
The arrests and charges were announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas; and Inspector in Charge Regina Faulkerson of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Criminal Investigations Group.
John Lewis Davis II, 43, and Rasheed Wriden, 34, both of Dallas; Valandus Javon Gibson, 28 of Chicago, Illinois; Ralph Deon Taylor, 47, of Long Beach, California; and Craig Allen, 70, of Phoenix, Arizona, were all charged in a 14-count indictment unsealed on Thursday.
Davis, Gibson, Taylor, Allen, and Wriden are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
Davis, Gibson, and Allen, are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Davis, Allen, and Wriden are charged with mail fraud.
Davis, Taylor, Allen, and Wriden are charged with possession and transmission of counterfeit money orders.
Davis, Taylor, and Allen are charged with transferring counterfeit driver’s licenses.
The indictment alleges that from about April 2013 to December 2017, the defendants conspired with each other and individuals in other countries including Nigeria to obtain money through various acts of fraud. This included posting misleading advertisements of detailed descriptions of job opportunities, such as for mystery shopper positions, that were not valid job opportunities. The defendants are alleged to have conspired to pose as employers of these fraudulent job opportunities to lure victims, who resided throughout the United States and Canada.
The defendants are alleged to have conspired to obtain counterfeited driver’s licenses and money orders, which were shipped into the United States. The counterfeited money orders were shipped to co-conspirators, who then mailed them to unwitting victims who were under the mistaken belief that they were fulfilling the job duties of mystery shopper positions. The victims were instructed to deposit the counterfeit money orders and securities, mailed as payment for the mystery shopper jobs, into personal bank accounts and send a portion of the monies via money transfer businesses, to individuals known and unknown in the United States and elsewhere. After the unwitting victims cashed the counterfeited money orders and wired money to co-conspirators, the co-conspirators are alleged to have retrieved the wire transfers with the use of a counterfeited driver’s license.
According to the indictment, the purpose of the conspiracy was to fraudulently obtain monies from counterfeited U.S. Postal money orders and counterfeit checks, by sending and receiving them through the U.S. Postal Service and commercial carriers to other individuals, who would then negotiate the money orders and checks and wire the funds to the defendants using money service businesses.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Rowlett Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Leshia Lee-Dixon of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas – Dallas Division.
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