Brooklyn Man Pleads Guilty to Murder to Obstruct Bank Fraud Investigation
Yesterday, Naquan Reyes pled guilty at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, to murdering Nicole Thompson to prevent her from communicating with federal law enforcement officials who were investigating a bank fraud conspiracy. According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, Reyes paid another individual to murder Ms. Thompson to prevent her from cooperating with law enforcement and undermining a lucrative and long-standing scheme to defraud banks in the New York area. During yesterday’s proceeding, Reyes also pled guilty to bank fraud conspiracy.
The plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego G. Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Robert J. Sica, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Secret Service, New York Field Office.
“The murder of Nicole Thompson was the result of a truly shocking combination of greed and violence,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We hope her family can take some measure of solace in knowing that the individual who is responsible for their daughter’s murder has been brought to justice. This Office and our law enforcement partners will do anything in our power to hold accountable those who use violence to silence witnesses or otherwise obstruct justice.” Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the Prince George’s County, Maryland Police Department, New York City Police Department, and Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for their significant cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
As alleged in the detention memorandum and during a detention hearing, between 2008 and his arrest in 2014, Reyes perpetrated a scheme to defraud various banks. As part of the scheme, Reyes secured employment at more than half a dozen banks and, relying in part on knowledge he acquired from his employment, Reyes created counterfeit checks and recruited others to deposit those checks into their and others’ bank accounts. Reyes and his coconspirators then attempted to withdraw the funds from the bank accounts before the banks learned the checks were counterfeit. Among those he recruited to make the deposits was Nicole Thompson. On July 16, 2010, Thompson was arrested by the New York City Police Department in connection with her role in the scheme, and she immediately decided to cooperate with law enforcement. When Reyes learned of Thompson’s plans to cooperate and thereby jeopardize his ongoing fraud scheme, Reyes paid another individual to murder her and then traveled from New York to Maryland to dispose of her body. On July 24, 2010, Thompson’s body, duct taped and wrapped in garbage bags, was found in a dumpster in Landover, Maryland. Thompson was 24 years old at the time of her murder.
Yesterday’s plea took place before United States District Judge Sandra L. Townes. When sentenced, Reyes faces up to life in prison, as well as forfeiture and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Kramer, Elizabeth Geddes, Samuel Nitze, and Karin Orenstein.