U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio
(216) 622-3600
May 6, 2015

Three Cleveland Women Indicted in $165,000 Check-Kiting Scheme

A 32-count federal indictment was filed charging three Cleveland women for their roles in a $165,000 conspiracy to pass fraudulent checks and then withdrew the money, sometimes at a Cleveland casino, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office.

Devinne P. Hollie, 29, Sade Philpott, 29, and Shanita Hollie, 28, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and multiple counts of bank fraud.

The Hollies and Philpott, acting with co-conspirators not yet charged, engaged in a check-kiting scheme in which they fraudulently obtained funds from financial institutions by depositing multiple counterfeit and forged checks into co-conspirators’ bank accounts, according to the indictment.

They then withdrew the proceeds from those accounts at ATMs, through debit card purchases, and by making withdrawals at a local casino, according to the indictment.

“This group passed bad checks and stole from banks,” Dettelbach said. “They may be trading their time at a glitzy casino for the comforts of a federal prison.”

“These women believed they had found a shortcut to put money in their pockets and now they will have to pay for their criminal behavior,” Anthony said. “The FBI will continue this investigation in order to bring all individuals involved in this group to justice.”

In most instances, the Hollies and Philpott found a co-conspirator who was willing and able to open a checking account at a bank. Once these co-conspirators obtained debit cards and PINs for the accounts, they passed these items on to the defendants, who then deposited forged and counterfeit checks into the bank accounts. These deposits typically occurred late at night or in the early morning hours, when the banks were closed and could not detect that the checks were counterfeit and forged, according to the indictment.

The defendants and co-conspirators would then often meet at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland, where the co-conspirators would use Total Rewards Cards from the casino linked to their bank accounts to make large scale cash withdrawals from the casino’s cage, according to the indictment.

The Hollies, Philpott and their co-conspirators made deposits of counterfeit and forged checks on approximately 31 different occasions. The false and fraudulent deposits totaled approximately $165,000, and the banks lost approximately of $120,000.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of the factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, the defendants’ roles in the offense and the characteristics of the criminal conduct. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Om Kakani and Carmen Brown, following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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