Sixteen Indicted in North Texas Bank Fraud Conspiracy
SHERMAN, TX—U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that 16 individuals have been indicted on federal charges involving bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in the Eastern District of Texas.
Robert Aaron Green, Christopher Henry Cosby, Mallori Lee Moss, Wendi Lee Wren and Katherine Jones Reynolds made initial appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The defendants were named, along with 12 others, in a 76-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Aug. 13, 2014, charging them with federal violations that are alleged to have caused over $1.3 million in losses to banks. Those charged are:
- Robert Aaron Green, 27, of Lauderdale Lakes, FL
- Christopher Henry Cosby, 25, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Dianna Leigh Painton, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Shelton Jerrod Green, 23, of Casselberry, FL
- Demetris Jerome Cunnigham, 28, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Mallori Lee Moss, 25, of Port Orange, FL, and Dallas, TX
- Benny Lee Doe, Jr., 30, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Steven Taurus Green, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Christina Lynn Gallo, 34, of Coral Springs, FL
- David Lee Brown, 26, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Johnthavias Keon Brown, 26, of Lauderhill, FL
- Kamesha Nycole Brown, 24, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Moses George Freelove, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Wendi Lee Wrenn, 47, of Port Orange, FL
- Christian Dominique Scott, 28, of Dallas, TX, and
- Katherine Jones Reynolds, 51, of Mesquite, TX
According to the indictment, members of the conspiracy are alleged to have broken into vehicles at various locations such as public parks, daycare facilities, gyms and neighborhood pools, stealing purses, wallets, bank checks, bank cards, drivers’ licenses, and other personal identifying information. The defendants then transferred the stolen items to other members of the conspiracy for use at the banks. Certain members of the conspiracy disguised themselves as theft victims often through the use of wigs, and drove into the drive-thru teller lanes of the banks using rented vehicles. Other members of the conspiracy were usually hidden in the back seat of the rented vehicles so as to remain out of sight of bank personnel; they provided the disguised drivers with the stolen checks made payable from one victim to another, and the corresponding stolen drivers’ licenses and bank cards. When the banks cashed the checks, the payee victims’ banks suffered the loss when the checks were returned from the maker victims’ banks as stolen. While the banks were processing the checks, other members of the conspiracy provided surveillance for the rental vehicles used to present the stolen checks, typically in other rented vehicles. The conspirators often used stolen Texas license plates to conceal the true license plates of the rental vehicles used in the scheme. While the alleged criminal conduct was concentrated in the Dallas Metroplex, the conspiracy also extended to other states such as South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Florida.
If convicted of the conspiracy to commit bank fraud, the defendants each face up to 30 years in federal prison. If convicted of the aggravated identity theft charges, each defendant faces up to a mandatory 2 additional years in federal prison for each count charged to run consecutive to the bank fraud punishment.
In a related case, another 11 individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 15, 2013, and charged with using the same scheme in the Dallas area. Several defendants have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to federal prison, including:
- Melvin Donnell Ferrell, 29, of Fort Lauderdale, sentenced to 70 months in federal prison on Sep. 8, 2014 and ordered to pay $28,281 in restitution;
- Craig Dwayne Tobias, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, sentenced to 46 months in federal prison on Sep. 3, 2014 and ordered to pay $6,673.37 in restitution;
- Atamian Rajuan Johnson, 32, of Riviera Beach, Florida, sentenced to 37 months in federal prison on Sep. 8, 2014, and ordered to pay $6,673.37 in restitution;
- Makeisha Ann Williams, 37, of Dallas, sentenced to 27 months in federal prison on Sep. 8, 2014, and ordered to pay $4,010 in restitution;
- Misty Dawn Hendrix, 38, of Dallas, sentenced to 37 months in federal prison on Sep. 3, 2014, and ordered to pay $2,313.37 in restitution; and
- Marc Anthony Booker, 25, of Austin, Texas, sentenced to 54 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $63,951.73 in restitution.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Plano Police Department, the Richardson Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Cedar Hills Police Department, the McKinney Police Department, the Arlington Police Department, and the Grapevine Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Eason.
An indictment or arrest is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.