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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 25, 2017

19 Defendants Facing Federal Criminal Charges For Alledgedly Defrauding Bank Of America In Bank Card Scheme

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN—Nineteen defendants residing in Michigan, Illinois, and Georgia have been charged by a federal Grand Jury with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and executing a scheme to defraud Bank of America, Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today. Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), assisted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, and several state law enforcement officers assigned to the FBI’s Grand Rapids Violent Crime and Fugitive Task Force, Muskegon Safe Streets Task Force, and St. Joseph Violent Crime Task Force, began arresting the defendants yesterday.

          The 28-count indictment alleges that, since at least November 2015 to December 2015, the defendants conspired with each other to open bank accounts at Bank of America to facilitate the deposit of fraudulent checks. Once a fraudulent check was deposited into an account and the bank temporarily credited the account with funds, the accountholder and others allegedly used a debit card associated with the account to obtain, and attempt to obtain, money and funds belonging to Bank of America. The charges allege that the defendants conducted numerous cash withdrawals at ATM machines and bank branches, and conducted cash advance transactions at FireKeepers Casino near Battle Creek, Michigan, to unlawfully obtain money belonging to the bank. As a result, the defendants allegedly caused a loss of more than $200,000 to Bank of America. Law enforcement refers to this type of bank fraud scheme as "Cracking Cards."

          The charges in an indictment, which carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

          This matter is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Tribal Police Department. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kate Zell and Christopher O’Connor.

          The FBI requests the public’s assistance in locating the following defendants charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and executing a scheme to defraud a federally-insured financial institution:

Picture of Tirell Perry Thomas           Picture of Jerome Datra Perry           Picture of Dwayne Edward Perry
   Tirell Perry Thomas                   Jerome Datra Perry                  Dwayne Edward Perry

          Anyone with information related to the whereabouts of any of those individuals is encouraged to call the FBI Detroit Office at 313-965-2323.

END

Updated August 25, 2017