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Press Release

18 Defendants Sentenced In Bank Card Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

Tirrell Thomas, the Michigan leader of the scheme, sent to prison for 102 months

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Tirrell Perry Thomas, the Michigan leader of a scheme to defraud Bank of America, was sentenced to 102 months (8.5 years) in federal prison as part of an ongoing multi-state investigation that has resulted in felony convictions for 18 participants, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today.  The Honorable Paul L. Maloney, U.S. District Judge, sentenced Thomas and the other defendants for their involvement in the bank card fraud scheme, which sought to obtain more than $780,000 from Bank of America and resulted in losses totaling $455,709. This is Thomas’s third federal felony conviction. He was convicted of federal drug trafficking offenses in 1999 and 2007.

          The following defendants were sentenced for their respective roles in the fraud scheme, including accountholders who opened or used Bank of America accounts to accept fraudulent check deposits and then make fraudulent withdrawals at banks and casinos, mid-level recruiters who accompanied and
directed accountholders on trips to open bank accounts and withdraw funds, and the leaders and organizers of the scheme, who collected and divided the fraud proceeds:

  • Tirrell Perry Thomas (Kalamazoo): 102 months in prison
  • Earl Lee Cobb IV (Chicago): 78 months in prison
  • Nickolas Maurice Fry (Kalamazoo): 41 months in prison, plus an additional 13 months in prison for a related federal supervised release violation
  • Jerome Datra Perry (South Haven): 15 months in prison
  • Josiah Nathan Preston (Wyoming): 14 months in prison
  • Kyle Dwayne Mosley (Kalamazoo): 14 months in prison
  • James Langford (South Haven): 12 months and one day in prison
  • Darmesha Lakeya Gunn (Parchment): 11 months in prison
  • Dwayne Edward Perry (Grand Rapids):  8 months in prison
  • Tiffany Danielle Sanders (Sturgis): 4 months in prison
  • Elnora Snipes (South Haven): 3 months in prison
  • Desiree Analiese Winfield (Kalamazoo): 2 months in prison
  • Antoine Naivon Younger (Kalamazoo): 1 month in prison
  • Brenda Marie Davis (Kalamazoo): 1 day in prison
  • Sean Allen Haney (Grand Rapids): 3 years of probation
  • Kelsey Alice Thompson (Grand Rapids): 2 years of probation
  • Kevin Lavelle Hunter II (Kalamazoo): 2 years of probation
  • Crystal Kaye Pugh (Norton Shores): 2 years of probation

          In addition to the prison and probation sentences, each defendant sentenced to prison will serve a period of supervised release after their custodial sentence, and each defendant was ordered to pay restitution to Bank of America ranging from $8,027 to $455,709, depending on the amount of actual
loss for which they were held responsible.

          The sentencings follow a 28-count indictment that was returned by a grand jury in August 2017 alleging that 19 people participated in a conspiracy to defraud Bank of America in November and December 2015. The fraud was accomplished by using debit cards to withdraw funds from ATMs and
casinos in Michigan, which had been fraudulently deposited into the bank accounts in Illinois, by Chicago co-conspirator Earl Lee Cobb IV.  Eighteen defendants pled guilty to at least one count in the indictment and one defendant, an accountholder, was allowed to enter a period of pretrial
diversion, a form of probation without entry of a guilty plea.

          This matter was investigated by the Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago, with assistance from the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Tribal Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kate Zell and Christopher O’Connor.


Updated May 15, 2018