PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Providence man has been charged in federal court based on allegations that he orchestrated schemes to defraud Rhode Island businesses and a Massachusetts foundation of tens of thousands of dollars by depositing fraudulent checks drawn on the entities and quickly withdrawing the funds before it was determined by the banks that the checks were bogus, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.
The government has alleged that Rachon Waite, 31, known to some as “RJ,” 31, made social media solicitations seeking persons willing to provide him with their debit cards and personal identifying number (PIN), and/or access to their bank accounts so that he could deposit fraudulent checks as part of the scheme, promising to pay them for the use of this account information.
Waite made an initial appearance in federal court this afternoon, charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with wire fraud, bank fraud, access device (ATM) fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, in early March 2021, a Bristol-based engineering company reported to the Bristol Police Department that a fraudulent check drawn on their business account in the amount of $23,754 had been cashed. An investigation determined that the check had been made out to and was deposited into a Coventry resident’s bank account. The bank account holder told investigators that he responded to a solicitation posted on social media by a person he came to know as “RJ,” and provided “RJ” with his debit card and PIN. The account holder agreed to let “RJ” use his bank account to deposit checks and withdraw funds, in return receiving a portion of the amount of money withdrawn. On March 19, 2021, the account holder saw that his account was overdrawn by approximately $24,000. The next day the account was closed by the bank and the remaining funds were kept by the bank, including funds from the account holder’s paycheck. The account holder was unable to contact “RJ” again and his debit card was never returned.
According to court documents, at in early March, a Wrentham, Massachusetts-based foundation reported to Wrentham Police that two fraudulent checks totaling nearly $15,000 were drawn on the foundation’s bank account and cashed. Two individuals whose accounts were identified by law enforcement as allegedly used to assist in the fraud described a similar scheme to that which defrauded the Bristol engineering company. They too communicated with “RJ” and provided him with their debit cards and PINs, in return for the promise of a portion of funds deposited into and withdrawn from their accounts. A description of the person with whom the account holders met with matched the description of the person who allegedly facilitated the fraud against the Bristol company.
A Coventry woman who allegedly provided “RJ” with her debit card and PIN was allegedly paid $2,000 for the use of her banking information when “RJ” withdrew $7,000 from the woman’s account. He allegedly deposited a fraudulent foundation check for $7,417,14. A Johnston man who allegedly provided his ATM card and PIN to “RJ” never heard from “RJ” again. It is alleged that Waite deposited a fraudulent foundation check for $7,117.40 into the Johnston man’s account and withdrew most of the funds.
Rachon Waite was released to the custody of OpenDoors RI following his initial appearance in U.S. District Court. A federal criminal complaint is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Denise M. Barton.
The matter was investigated by the FBI, Bristol Police Department, and Wrentham Police Department.
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