DALLAS – An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas last week, and unsealed today, charges Moiz Mumtaz Ali, 36, of McKinney, Texas, with offenses related to his role in fraudulently obtaining and cashing 3,423 U.S. Treasury checks totaling approximately $16 million, announced John Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Ali is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, twenty-six counts of bank fraud, one count of theft of public money and property, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of failure to develop, implement, and maintain anti-money laundering program. Ali will remain on bond pending trial.
The indictment alleges that from December 2010 through June 2012, Ali operated, and managed Gateway Newsstands (“Gateway”), located at 700 North Pearl Street, Dallas Texas. The business included a convenience and check-cashing store and was registered as a money service business, with the ability to cash checks for customers and members of the general public. Ali was responsible for Gateway’s check cashing operations and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the store, approved transactions, and maintained control of the business’ bank accounts.
Ali and others devised a scheme to defraud Neighborhood Credit Union by negotiating fraudulently obtained United States Treasury checks. False and fraudulent tax returns were filed using the personal identifying information of legitimate tax payers without the tax payers’ authorization. Once these fraudulent returns were submitted and approved by the Internal Revenue Service, co-conspirators received United States Treasury checks that represented the fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Co-conspirators brought these United States Treasury checks to Ali at Gateway. The United States Treasury checks were exchanged with Ali for cash that represented a percentage of the stated amount of each check.
Between December 2010 through June 2012, Ali negotiated and cashed approximately 3,423 United States Treasury checks totaling approximately $16,600,000.00. The vast majority of the checks were addressed to individuals with out-of-state addresses. Most of the checks had been obtained through fraud, either because the checks were based on fraudulent federal tax returns or because the checks had been stolen.
The indictment also alleges Ali failed to require and/or retain copies of any identification documents applicable to the party cashing the Treasury checks or to the payees whose names were on the Treasury checks he accepted and cashed. In those very limited instances in which Ali purportedly required identification and retained a copy of such identification, Ali failed to take any steps to verify whether the identification document was false, fictitious, or counterfeit.
An indictment is merely an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, however, the bank fraud counts carry a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a $1,000,000 fine. The theft of public money and property carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of aggravated identity theft carries a maximum statutory penalty of 2 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The failure to develop, implement, and maintain anti-money laundering program carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine.
The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation that would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit to the U.S. any property traceable to the offense.
The case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Secret Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl is prosecuting the case.