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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Opelousas Resident Sentenced For Counterfeit Monetary Instrument Scheme

LAFAYETTE, La. –An Opelousas man was sentenced last week to 23 months in prison and five years of supervised release for taking part in an international scheme to defraud banks and victims across the country, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today.

Nelson Durald, 49, of Opelousas, La., was also ordered Thursday by U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to pay restitution to identifiable victims and amounts of loss in conjunction with the conviction for one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. According to evidence presented at the March 26, 2014, guilty plea, Durald participated in a scheme from the end of 2011 to June 2013 to defraud banks and other financial institutions by cashing and asking other victims to cash fake monetary instruments such as checks and money orders that were shipped to Durald from other countries. Durald and other co-conspirators, some located within the United States and others in foreign countries, worked together to recruit victims to participate in a “Secret Shopper” program. Durald would mail fake monetary instruments to victim participants and ask them to cash the negotiable instruments at their bank or other financial institution as part of a seemingly legitimate Secret Shopper Program. The victim participant was instructed to send a portion of the cash obtained on the counterfeit instrument to another co-conspirator. Victims did this not knowing the monetary instruments they were attempting to cash were fake, which resulted in a loss to the victim participants and banks. At the time of Durald’s arrest, 316 counterfeit monetary instruments had been seized.  The total amount of all counterfeit financial instruments was $247,829.15. 

The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Myers P. Namie prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015