Two Businessmen Plead Guilty To Wire Fraud Conspiracy For Orchestrating Large-Scale Investment Scheme
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charles Morgan Harrell, 58, of Charlotte, was sentenced to five years in prison today for bank fraud, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Harrell was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release.
Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), which oversees Charlotte, and Robert R. Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to filed court documents and court proceedings, from Jan. 2020 to Feb. 2021, Harrell operated a bank fraud scheme in North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and elsewhere. To execute the scheme, Harrell targeted neighborhoods in the Charlotte area and stole mail from residential mailboxes. The stolen mail included individual and business checks, and personal identifying information (PII) of victims, which Harrell used to create fake identification documents in furtherance of the scheme.
As Harrell previously admitted in court, at times, Harrell altered the names of the payees on the stolen checks to the names of the identity theft victims and used the false identification documents to open bank accounts in the identify theft victims’ names and cash the checks. Other times, Harrell obtained blank checks which she fraudulently wrote in her name and then cashed. In addition to the check cashing scheme, Harrell also used the victims’ stolen identities to rent apartments and to buy at least one vehicle. In total, Harrell obtained more than $200,000 through the fraudulent scheme.
Harrell is currently released on bond and will be ordered to report to prison upon designation of a facility by federal Bureau of Prisons.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked the USPIS and the FBI for their investigation of the case.
Assistant United States Attorney Caryn Finley, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.