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Justice News

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

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Two Florida Residents Plead Guilty to Passing Counterfeit Checks in Multiple States

PITTSBURGH - Two residents of Orlando, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to pass counterfeit bank checks, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Calar Braxton, aka Vivian Hugo, aka Taylor Crimson, 45, and Brian Omar Campbell, aka Vincent Hugo, aka Troy Crimson, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts before United States District Judge Marilyn J. Horan.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that in September 2017, Braxton and Campbell flew to Pittsburgh and rented a room at motel located in North Fayette Township. Afterwards, they and another member of the conspiracy went to Imperial and Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, to steal outgoing mail from residential mailboxes. The stolen mail was taken back to the motel, where it was opened. If the mail contained a check, the check’s account information and routing number were used to prepare counterfeit checks. They then used the counterfeit checks to purchase merchandise from stores located in and around the Mall at Robinson. The conspirators targeted national chains with the intention of obtaining a cash refund for ill-gotten merchandise at a counterpart store located in another state. The scheme came to an end when members of the North Fayette Township Police Department obtained a warrant for the motel room and searched. During the search, the police recovered blank check stock; a laser jet printer; a laptop computer; a false identification cards for Braxton and Campbell. As part of their plea agreement, both defendants acknowledged that they had also passed counterfeits checks in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Judge Horan scheduled Braxton’s sentencing for April 1, 2020, and Campbell’s was scheduled for April 2, 2020. The law provides for a total sentence of 35 years in prison, a fine of $2,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued the defendants’ detention.

Assistant United States Attorney is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service and the North Fayette Township Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the charges in this case.

Financial Fraud
Updated December 12, 2019