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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Former Employee Of New Jersey Bank And Two Others Charged With Stealing Client Information And Funds

Antoinette Mitchell-Brown, Seconey Brown, and Anthony Atkinson Attempted to Steal More than $700,000 from Bank’s Clients

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Patricia Tarasca, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Region for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) Office of Inspector General, and Ruth M. Mendonca, the Acting Postal Inspector-in-Charge of the Newark Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced the unsealing today of an indictment charging SECONEY BROWN, ANTOINETTE MITCHELL-BROWN, a/k/a “Antoinette Mitchell-Morgan,” and ANTHONY ATKINSON with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $700,000 from clients of a bank in New Jersey (“Bank-1”), at which MITCHELL-BROWN was employed during the scheme.  BROWN, MITCHELL-BROWN, and ATKINSON were arrested today and will be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Antoinette Mitchell-Brown allegedly stole client information from a bank at which she was employed and, with the help of Seconey Brown and Anthony Atkinson, used that information in an attempt to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the very customers Mitchell-Brown was supposed to be serving.  Thanks to the work of the FDIC Office of Inspector General and the USPIS, the defendants’ alleged scheme has now been exposed.”

FDIC Special Agent-in-Charge Patricia Tarasca said:  “This indictment unsealed today holds the three defendants accountable for stealing bank account information from innocent victims and aiming to transfer more than $600,000 for their personal gain.  We are pleased to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate such matters of identity theft, as a way to protect banks from such abuses and the system’s integrity.”

Acting Postal Inspector-in-Charge Ruth M. Mendonca said:  “Through disguise and deceit, these defendants created an elaborate bank fraud scheme to defraud financial institutions and their customers.  The use of the U.S. Mail to facilitate any fraud scheme will never be tolerated by U.S. Postal Inspectors, who will continue to aggressively pursue these types of investigations.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment[1]:

From at least September 2016 until at least December 2016, MITCHELL-BROWN, BROWN, and ATKINSON engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain funds from more than 25 accounts at Bank-1, at which MITCHELL-BROWN was then employed.  In furtherance of the scheme, MITCHELL-BROWN stole victims’ bank account information from her employer and used that information to, among other things, write checks for thousands of dollars from victims’ accounts and initiate wire transfers from victims’ accounts to bank accounts controlled by members of the scheme.  BROWN and ATKINSON, among other things, paid members of the scheme or otherwise induced other individuals (some of whom provided unwitting assistance) to cash or deposit the fraudulent checks from MITCHELL-BROWN, and provide the proceeds to BROWN, ATKINSON, or, at BROWN and ATKINSON’s direction, other individuals.  In total, the defendants’ scheme fraudulently obtained more than $77,000 and attempted to obtain at least an additional $660,000.

*                *                *

BROWN, 25, and MITCHELL-BROWN, 41, both of East Orange, New Jersey, and ATKINSON, 22, of the Bronx, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the assigned judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FDIC Office of Inspector General and the USPIS.  Mr. Berman also thanked United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the East Orange Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

If you believe you were a victim of this crime, including a victim entitled to restitution, and you wish to provide information to law enforcement and/or receive notice of future developments in the case or additional information, please contact the Victim/Witness Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, at (866) 874-8900.  For additional information, go to http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys/victimwitness.html.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Louis A. Pellegrino and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-120
Updated April 12, 2018