Case Of The Stolen U.S. Treasury Checks and Identity Theft Ring

U.S. Treasury Checks and Identity Theft Ring
U.S. Treasury Checks and Identity Theft Ring

Eighteen Individuals Sentenced for Running Stolen U.S. Treasury Checks and Identity Theft Ring

            Case Of The Stolen U.S. Treasury Checks and Identity Theft RingEighteen defendants have been sentenced in a large, stolen U.S. Treasury check and identity theft ring. The defendants ran an elaborate scheme that obtained stolen checks, manufactured fake Georgia driver’s licenses to use in cashing the stolen checks, and opened accounts in the names of unsuspecting victims.

“Fraud and identity theft crimes are a growing problem in our community,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “These crimes have long-lasting effects on the victims, destroy credit ratings and deprive victims of benefit checks they often desperately need.  For many, it can take years to undo the damage caused by these schemes.”

“The federal prison sentences handed down to this aggressive and organized theft ring are the direct result of the efforts of a large group of committed and dedicated investigators and prosecutors that clearly saw the level of victimization to individuals, corporations, and even the U.S. government.  The FBI is proud of the role that it played in bringing this case forward for the successful prosecution that now holds these individuals fully accountable for their criminal actions,” said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: From approximately June 2012 until September 2014, the defendants worked together to obtain and cash U.S. Treasury checks stolen from the U.S. Mail. The checks were originally issued to people entitled to the federal funds, including taxpayers receiving refunds, retired federal employees receiving pension benefits, families, and Social Security beneficiaries receiving Social Security and disability payments.

The defendants played different roles in the scheme: Defendants Erica Willis, Dexter Willis, Sayeed Valdez and Antonio Slatton sold stolen checks to other defendants.  Check purchasers, including Hussain Abdullah, Asad Abdullah, Hudhayfah Abdullah and Hafid Abdur-Rabbani, were frequent customers of the check sellers and purchased checks by either paying 25% of the check’s face value or splitting the proceeds from the check with the supplier. After purchasing the stolen checks, the defendants would pay identification manufacturers like Ibrahim Abdur-Rabbani and Khalil Majeed to make fake Georgia driver’s licenses matching the names and addresses of the victims, but containing photos of “check runners.” In exchange for a fee, the “check runners” would use the fake driver’s licenses to cash the stolen checks at retail locations throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area, such as Wal-Mart and Publix.

As part of the investigation, FBI and other law enforcement agents worked with a confidential informant, which put them in a position to recover the stolen checks and false identifications.  During the investigation, the government reimbursed the stores that agreed to help in the investigation by cashing the stolen checks, thus aiding law enforcement in identifying the members of the scheme.

In a separate credit card fraud scheme, defendants Asad Abdullah, Mikal Majeed, Sayeed Valdez and Billie Cosby, obtained and used counterfeit identification documents to pose as real Sam’s Club members. After presenting the fraudulent documents at various Sam’s Club locations in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama, the defendants obtained replacement store credit cards in the names of the victims, which the defendants then used to buy gift cards, gas, groceries, and other items at various Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart locations.

In total, the defendants defrauded the federal government, Wal‑Mart, and Sam’s Club of close to $1,000,000.

The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on September 11, 2014.  All were convicted by either guilty plea or trial, and all but one has been sentenced.  The defendants, and their charges and sentences are as follows:

 

  • Asad Abdullah, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years, eight months in months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $72,182.12

 

  • Erica Willis, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  She was convicted at trial and was sentenced to three years in months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. 
  • Hussain Abdullah, 34, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years, eight months, followed by three years supervised release and 100 hours of community service. 
  • Hudhayfah Abdullah, 32, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years, six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,325.00. 
  • Hafid Abdur-Rabbani, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,684.30. 
  • Ibrahim Abdur-Rabbani, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years, seven months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Khalil Majeed, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft.  He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years, ten months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. 
  • Ali Al-Amin, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds, theft of government funds, and aggravated identity theft after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years, seven months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Zakariyah Abdullah, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of aggravated identity theft and using a passport belonging to another after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years, two months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

 

  • Sayeed Valdez, 38, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after he pleaded guilty.  He was sentenced to two years, nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $55,623.17.

 

  • Antonio Slaton, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to one year in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. 
  • Cory Howell, 43, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. 
  • Damion Davis, 31, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after entering a guilty plea.  His sentencing is scheduled for April 8, 2016. 
  • Dexter Willis, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $118,199.16 
  • JoAnn Drigo, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  She was sentenced to three years’ probation. 
  • Muhajid Ahmad, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years of probation.

 

  • Billee Cosby, 34, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud after pleading guilty.  She was sentenced to four months of a combination of community and home confinement, three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,635.47.

 

  • Mikal Majeed, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of aggravated identity theft after pleading guilty.  He was sentenced to three years in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $50,929.34.

 

  • Jasmine Proctor, 20, of Atlanta, Georgia, was convicted of interfering with the U.S. Mail after pleading guilty.  She was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Investigative assistance in this case was provided by the following federal agencies: Federal Air Marshal Service; United States Customs and Border Protection; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; IRS-Criminal Investigations; United States Secret Service; United States Postal Service; and the Department of Homeland Security. The following state and local agencies also assisted: Georgia Bureau of Investigation; Georgia Office of Consumer Protection; Georgia Department of Corrections; Atlanta Police Department; Woodstock Police Department; Fulton County Sheriff’s Office; Henry County Police Department; Gwinnett County Police Department; Dunwoody Police Department; Brookhaven Police Department; Sandy Springs Police Department; DeKalb County Police Department, and Chamblee Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nekia Hackworth and Kim S. Dammers, along with DOJ Trial Attorney Hans Miller prosecuted the case.

Original PressRelease …

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