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Press Release


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

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – In conjunction with a press release issued today by the Department of 
Justice regarding the Fourth Annual Money Mule Initiative, the United States Attorney’s Office for 
the Southern District of Illinois announced its participation in the national effort to combat 
money mule activities.
Money mules are individuals who are recruited by national and international fraud schemes to help 
with the laundering of fraud proceeds, or transport goods purchased with fraud proceeds.   These 
individuals  are  usually  recruited  over  the  internet,  through  dating  websites,  job  
recruiting advertisements, or other types of internet solicitations.   The money mules are then 
asked to help move money and goods from the victims to the fraudsters, who are oftentimes located 

Sometimes the money mules are themselves innocent victims who do not realize that they are 
assisting with criminal activity.   Other times, however, the money mules come to realize that what 
they are doing is wrong and/or illegal.   When this happens, the money mules become knowing 
participants in the fraud schemes they are assisting and are subject to prosecution.

In the past 18 months, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois 
has initiated prosecutions of several money mules who have either operated from, or targeted 
victims located  in,  southern  Illinois.    The  individuals  charged  include:    (1)  Danny  
Vaughn,  62,  of Centralia, Illinois.   Vaughn is charged with purchasing goods, such as computers 
and cell phones, with stolen credit card numbers, and then shipping those goods to overseas 
addresses, including Malaysia; (2) Jaykumar Patel, 32, of Tampa, Florida.   Patel is charged with 
receiving cash from fraud victims, including victims located in southern Illinois, and transporting 
that cash to other participants in the fraud scheme; and (3) Talfanita Cobb, 49, of East St. Louis, 
Illinois.   Cobb is charged with receiving fraudulently obtained Unemployment Insurance debit 
cards, withdrawing funds from the cards, and transferring the funds to other members of the fraud scheme via Bitcoin.

Members  of  the  public  are  reminded  to  be  careful  of  individuals  they  meet  online.    
If  those individuals ask you to receive or transfer funds or goods, purchase gift cards, or engage 
in any type of suspicious activity, please report this activity to law enforcement.

Updated December 9, 2021