Fugitive in "Card Cracking" Scheme Arrested in California
Counterfeiters allegedly targeted college students and their bank accounts to deposit approximately a million dollars in bogus checks
PROVIDENCE – The final person sought in connection with an alleged bank fraud scheme where members of an alleged conspiracy created and deposited approximately a million dollars worth of bogus checks in banks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts has been arrested in California.
Edmilson Rodriques, 20, of Providence, named in a federal indictment along with six others returned in Providence in April 2019, was found sleeping in a vehicle in a Culver City, California, hotel parking lot on August 19. Inside the vehicle, Culver City Police allegedly located an assortment of driver’s licenses, social security numbers, credit cards, and checks in the name of several individuals other than Rodriguez or the other individual also found inside the vehicle with Rodrigues.
Rodrigues is one of six individuals named in an indictment who are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud. A seventh individual is charged with conspiracy to commit bank.
According to the indictment and information presented to the Court, it is alleged that the members of the conspiracy solicited individuals with access to legitimate business and public agency checks to photograph the checks and send them to a counterfeiter. The information was used to create counterfeit checks. It is alleged that members of the conspiracy then solicited others via social media, often times college students, to allow the bogus checks to be deposited into their bank accounts. Using ATM cards belonging to the account holders, either members of the conspiracy or, at times the actual account holders, under the supervision of members of the conspiracy, would attempt to withdraw cash from the accounts prior to the bank determining that the deposited checks were counterfeit.
It is alleged that over the past six years, members of the conspiracy created and deposited approximately a million dollars worth of bogus checks in banks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The other six individuals named in the indictment were previously arrested and arraigned in U.S. District Court in Providence. Rodrigues is detained in federal custody following an appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. He will be returned to Rhode Island by the U.S. Marshals Service and arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court in Providence.
The arrest of Rodrigues is announced by United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Stephen Marks, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Joseph W. Cronin, and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.
This investigation was initiated by the Providence Police Department’s Detective Bureau, Financial Crimes Unit. They sought the assistance of federal law enforcement and the case was then investigated jointly by U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the FBI.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland.
United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman thanks the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General, Rhode Island State Police, and the Warwick and North Providence Police Departments for their assistance in the investigation of this matter.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.