19 Defendants Charged In Manhattan Federal Court For Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme | USAO-SDNY

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Kathy A. Michalko, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service (“Secret Service”),  Phillip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), and New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea, announced the unsealing today of a criminal Indictment and Complaint charging 19 defendants with conspiracy to steal government funds, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  Twelve defendants were arrested yesterday and today in the Southern and Western Districts of New York and Northern District of Georgia, and were to be presented yesterday and today in those districts’ federal courts.  Seven defendants remain at large.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, these defendants engaged in schemes to steal millions of dollars by cashing fraudulent checks and stolen postal money orders, falsifying their identities, and taking advantage of multiple national financial institutions.  They must be held accountable for their brazen conduct.” 

USSS Special Agent-in-Charge Kathy A. Michalko said:  “The success of this case is the result of the partnerships between the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service.   The ability to leverage our combined expertise to detect, identify, and disrupt organized groups is vital to protect the integrity of our financial system.”

USPIS Chief Postal Inspector Phillip R. Bartlett said: “The accused allegedly participated in an unsophisticated, low-tech crime, involving the deposit of stolen checks and postal money orders into bank accounts they controlled. They engaged in this criminal enterprise to allegedly rip-off the government and unsuspecting financial institutions across the country. Gangs like these are opportunists and use any means to lie and steal for profit. Although the alleged crimes occurred months ago, Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners have put an end to their thieving evil ways and their day of reckoning has finally arrived.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said: “As the kind of crime alleged in this indictment moves into new frontiers of identity theft and financial fraud, the NYPD remains vigilant to stop it. I commend our federal partners and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for leading us to justice in this case.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment and Complaint:[1]

From January 2019 up to an including the present, defendants AHMAD AKBAR, a/k/a “Meech,” TYRELL BEECHER, a/k/a “Shae,” CHRISTOPHER BOVAIN, a/k/a “Cleko,” WINNIS BRITO, a/k/a “Flaco,” DARNELL GREEN, a/k/a “Nellz,” DOMINIQUE GREEN, a/k/a “Domo,” MAURICE HARGROW, a/k/a “Moe Tally,” CHARLES HEWITT, a/k/a “Young Cee,” KEVIN LEWIS, a/k/a “Mula,” JAMA MOHAMOUD, a/k/a “JFK Jay,” JAVIAN MOORE, a/k/a “Julio,” JORDAN RUSSELL, a/k/a “J Rozay,” DEVON SMITH, GEORGE THOMPSON, LOUIS WILLIAMS, ISAIAH WISE FORDHAM, a/k/a “ZayBands,” and JAHNICO HARVEY conspired to defraud the United States by cashing postal money orders that had been stolen from post offices in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, New Jersey, and Arkansas.  The postal money orders cashed by the members of the conspiracy originated from 18 post offices. In total, more than 15,000 postal money orders have been stolen from those 18 post offices. At a face value of up to $1,000 per postal money order, the theft results in a potential loss to the USPS of up to $15 million.

From at least in or around January 2018, up to and including the present, defendants TYRELL BEECHER, a/k/a “Shae,” CHRISTOPHER BOVAIN, a/k/a “Cleko,” WINNIS BRITO, a/k/a “Flaco,” DONTA DOUGLAS, DOMINIQUE GREEN, a/k/a “Domo,” MAURICE HARGROW, a/k/a “Moe Tally,” CHARLES HEWITT, a/k/a “Young Cee,” KEVIN LEWIS, a/k/a “Mula,” JAMA MOHAMOUD, a/k/a “JFK Jay,” JAVIAN MOORE, a/k/a “Julio,” JORDAN RUSSELL, a/k/a “J Rozay,” JONATHAN SHORTT, LOUIS WILLIAMS, ISAIAH WISE FORDHAM, a/k/a “ZayBands,” and JAHNICO HARVEY defrauded multiple national banks by recruiting collusive accountholders who allowed members of the conspiracy to deposit fraudulent checks into their bank accounts and by withdrawing money from the collusive bank accounts after banks made available funds associated with the fraudulent check deposits to the account, but before the banks discovered that the checks were fraudulent and would not clear.

All of the defendants charged in the bank fraud conspiracy, as well as AKBAR and SMITH, have also been charged with aggravated identity theft.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Emily A. Johnson, Kaylan E. Lasky, and Ashley C. Nicolas are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the indictment and complaint are merely an accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and Complaint, and the description of the Indictment and Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation. 

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