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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 22, 2016

Derrell Lee of Atlanta Sentenced To 32 Months For Aggravated Identity Theft And Bank Fraud Involving TD Bank Branches In Vermont

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Derrell Lee, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced today for his role in a scheme to defraud TD Bank through the cashing or attempted cashing of fraudulent checks in Vermont using the stolen personal information and bank account information of other TD Bank customers. Sitting in Brattleboro, Senior U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha sentenced Lee to 32 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

According to court records, in August 2015, law enforcement determined that Kirsta Dixon, a teller at an Atlantic City, New Jersey TD Bank branch, had provided account information for approximately 34 customers to Laurel Wells in exchange for compensation. Subsequent to the misappropriation of the customer account information, Derrell Lee cashed or attempted to cash approximately $33,000 in fraudulent checks in New York State and Vermont. On each occasion, Lee used the names and account information associated with the compromised information from Dixon.

Between August 8 and August 13, 2015, Lee entered eight different TD Bank branches, wearing a distinctive purple suit and passing himself off as someone else in an attempt to cash checks for thousands of dollars. On August 8, 2015, Lee successfully cashed a $4700 check in Fishkill, New York; on the same date he tried unsuccessfully to cash a $4500 check in South Hills, New York. On August 12, 2015, Lee cashed a $4700 check in Montpelier, Vermont; he cashed a $4800 check in Woodstock, Vermont; attempted to cash a $4800 check in Waterbury, Vermont; and attempted to cash another $4700 check in Barre, Vermont. On August 13, 2015, Lee cashed a check under another name in Richmond, Vermont for $4800. Law enforcement arrested Lee later that day after he attempted to cash a $4800 check at the TD Bank in Williston, Vermont. At the time of his arrest, Lee had a check made out to one of the compromised accountholders in New Jersey, a withdrawal slip, a New Jersey driver’s license containing Lee’s photo and the accountholder’s identifying information, and a Capital One credit card in the accountholder’s name. The license and credit card were both determined to be fraudulent. Fingerprint analysis determined that both Lee and Wells had contact with the withdrawal slip.

Several Vermont State’s Attorney’s Offices initially charged Lee for his offenses at each of the banks. Lee posted bond in his state cases in August 2015, but was arrested in January 2016 on a warrant for failure to appear for court proceedings.

On January 29, 2016, Lee was charged federally with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. On June 22, 2016, he pled guilty to both crimes, the latter requiring a mandatory two-year prison term consecutive to his sentence on the bank fraud charge. Criminal cases are pending against Kirsta Dixon and Laurel Wells in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

This matter was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, with the assistance of the Williston, Richmond, Waterbury, Montpelier, Barre, Woodstock, and Atlantic City, New Jersey Police Departments. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin J. Doyle. Mr. Lee was represented by David L. McColgin of the Federal Defender’s Office in Burlington, Vermont.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated December 22, 2016