Former Augusta Minister Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison in Check-Cashing Scheme
AUGUSTA, GA—Jesse Jefferson Flournoy, II, 37, of Augusta, Georgia was sentenced earlier this month to 148 months in prison by United States District Court Judge J. Randal Hall for his role in a check-cashing scheme that involved cashing over 80 United States Treasury and University Bank checks for a total loss of $450,465.52. This sentencing followed a lengthy jury trial in July 2013, where Flournoy was convicted of one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, thirteen counts of Theft of Public Money, and eight counts of Aggravated Identity Theft.
Evidence presented at trial and during sentencing showed that between September 2011 and January 2012, Flournoy played a vital role in a check-cashing scheme that involved cashing checks which were either generated as the result of filing a fraudulent tax return or were stolen from the United States mail before reaching the intended payee. Flournoy would obtain the checks from co-conspirators, forge the individual payees’ names on each check, create a bogus power of attorney form, in part by forging the individuals’ signatures, recruit an accomplice to actually cash the check, and then send money back to his co-conspirators after taking his “cut” from each check. In addition, the evidence showed a number of fraudulent tax refunds were electronically deposited directly into bank accounts controlled by Flournoy. The entire time Flournoy participated in this fraudulent scheme, he also served as the leader of the Transformation Empowerment Christian Center in Augusta, Georgia.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Schemes dealing with fraudulent tax refunds are not aimed at stealing from the ‘faceless victim’ of the government. The funds in the United States Treasury represent the money earned and paid by every American citizen. As such, this Office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute crimes involving theft from the American people.”
In addition to the ordered term of imprisonment, Flournoy was ordered to pay $450,465.52 in restitution. After Flournoy is released from prison, he will serve three years of supervised release. Regarding the length of the prison sentence, Mr. Tarver noted that parole has been abolished in the federal system.
FBI Special Agent Paul Kubala, IRS-CI Special Agent Roger Garland, and Secret Service agent Tom Norris conducted the investigation which led to the indictment. Assistant United States Attorney C. Troy Clark and former Assistant United States Attorney David M. Stewart prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.