More than two dozen defendants have been named in an alleged fraud scheme in North Carolina. Investigators say the federal financial fraud occurred during a seven-year period, during which approximately $1 million was taken from area banks. The 27 defendants named in the case are each facing allegations of bank fraud conspiracy. Further, 26 of the defendants have also been charged with bank fraud. They could each face three decades in prison and fines reaching $1 million, according to official reports. Other charges include theft of firearms, aggravated identity theft and possession of stolen mail, among others.
Authorities say they believe the fraud began in 2007, when members of the group started obtaining cash from banks using a variety of methods. Those included using fraudulent ATM cards, along with fake checks. In some cases, the defendants allegedly created checks that were linked to actual accounts; the checks were sometimes stolen or purchased under someone else’s name.
Those checks were then deposited into an account that had very little money, generally using an ATM. Before the bank could process the check, the defendants allegedly withdrew the money, purchasing money orders and using “cash back” options at retail establishments.
So far, 17 of the defendants have been arrested by authorities. Four are already in state custody, and three have agreed to turn themselves in. Three Charlotte men remain at large. Those already in custody were facing state charges; those charges just levied were for federal offenses.
Defendants who are facing fraud charges deserve a fair and unbiased criminal proceedings. These individuals may benefit from the assistance of a qualified North Carolina defense attorney, who can help them learn more about their legal rights and options.
Source: Charlotte Observer, “Federal indictment charges 27 in a check fraud scheme” Hilary Trenda, Jan. 24, 2014