A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
THIRTEEN DEFENDANTS INDICTED FOR ALLEGED ROLES IN SCHEME TO OBTAIN MORE THAN $2.5 MILLION FROM STOLEN CORPORATE CHECKS
CHICAGO — Thirteen Chicago and area defendants were indicted on federal bank fraud charges for their alleged roles in a scheme to obtain more than $2.5 million from stolen corporate checks, depositing them into sham business accounts at various banks, and withdrawing nearly $1.6 million of the funds, which they divided among themselves.
The defendants were charged in a 12-count federal grand jury indictment that was unsealed yesterday after eight defendants were arrested and four others voluntarily surrendered to U.S. Postal Inspectors, who led the investigation. A remaining defendant was already in state custody.
All 12 defendants who were arrested or surrendered pleaded not guilty yesterday and were released on their own recognizance after appearing in U.S. District Court. Their next scheduled court appearance is on Jan. 24, 2013.
The indictment was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Thomas P. Brady, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago. The Illinois State Police, the Illinois Gaming Board Police, and the Hillside Police Department assisted in the investigation, and the Chicago Police Department assisted in the arrests.
Three defendants —
- brothers Emanuel Lindsey, 32, and
- Edward Lindsey, 24, both of Chicago, and
- Derrick Sledge, 32, of Hillside
—allegedly obtained the stolen corporate checks already made payable to other business and directed the fraud scheme.
All three were arrested and charged with five counts of bank fraud.
Emanuel Lindsey was placed on home detention and Sledge was placed on electronic monitoring.
Ten other defendants were each charged with one or more counts of bank fraud.
According to the indictment between June 2009 and November 2011, the defendants incorporated various sham businesses that had names spelled similarly to the names of the payees on the stolen checks or to various co-defendants’ names. Various co-defendants were recruited to open bank accounts in the names of the sham businesses and then to withdraw funds from these accounts after the stolen checks had been deposited in exchange for a percentage of the proceeds of the stolen checks.
Overall, the defendants allegedly deposited stolen checks totaling more than $2.5 million and withdrew nearly $1.6 million, using debit cards and checks to make withdrawals at automated teller machines and casinos.
Several defendants made multiple trips from Chicago to Las Vegas to make large cash withdrawals at various casinos.
After various defendants withdrew funds, they gave the money to the Lindseys and Sledge, who then split the proceeds with various other defendants, the indictment alleges.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of approximately $1,585,380.
Also arrested were:
- King Solomon Johnson, 43;
- Tequila Sims, 30;
- Timothy Polen, 22;
- Gregory Tharps, 37; and
- Naisha Jones, 26,
all of Chicago, and each was charged with one count of bank fraud.
Those who surrendered were:
- Eliana Roldan, 26, of Chicago, two counts of bank fraud;
- DeWayne Rhone, 43, of Westchester, one count;
- Nyco Plair, 24, of Chicago, two counts; and
- Sammy Colon, 32, of Chicago, three counts.
Seneca Reece, 32 of Chicago, two counts, was in state custody.
Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Grohman.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.