Fourth Charlotte Man Pleads Guilty In Check-Cashing Scheme
The Defendants Used Social Media to Boast About Their Scheme and to Recruit Others
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Omontie Rowe, 22, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty in federal court to aggravated identity theft, for his role in an extensive check-cashing scheme that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to at least five financial institutions, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge David S. Cayer presided over today’s plea hearing.
David M. McGinnis, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
From January 2018 through June 2019, Rowe and his three co-defendants, Jacoby Berry, Fredrick Clark, and Fabio Wolfe, executed the check cashing scheme by obtaining business and personal checks that were stolen, counterfeit or altered by members of the conspiracy. After depositing the worthless checks into various bank accounts, the co-conspirators made multiple cash withdrawals and purchases before the victim banks detected the fraud.
Court records show that the four defendants called themselves the “All Profit Group,” or “AP Group,” and bragged about their successful check fraud scheme on social media, by posting images of themselves with handfuls of cash. They also used social media to recruit “straw account holders,” by posting to social media websites and approaching individuals with the promise of an easy pay day. According to court records, the recruited straw account holders were promised a payment of $100 to $1,500, in exchange for allowing the co-defendants to use the account holders’ new or existing bank accounts to perpetuate the fraud.
All four co-defendants have pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and are awaiting sentencing. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory minimum prison term of two years. A sentencing date has not been set.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked USPIS for their investigation of the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maria Vento and William Miller, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, is in charge of the prosecution.