Internet Used to Recruit Individuals to Deposit Counterfeit Checks Across the Country
GREENBELT, Md. (Oct. 23, 2008) - U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Tyron Lydale Johnson, age 35, formerly of Waldorf, Maryland, Wednesday to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for bank larceny in connection with an internet scam to deposit counterfeit checks into his account at Andrews Federal Credit Union (AFCU), announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Judge Messitte also ordered Johnson to pay restitution of $57,495.02.
According to his plea agreement, on November 15 Johnson deposited a check for $89,991.95 issued by First Sound Bank in Redmond, Washington, into his AFCU account. Johnson subsequently made $19,000 in cash withdrawals from this account and purchased a 2004 Ford Expedition, several vehicle accessories, a $5,000 diamond ring, numerous electronic items and a vacation to Georgia. In January 2007 First Sound Bank returned the check as counterfeit and AFCU froze Johnsons account with a balance of $32,496.93. There have been approximately a dozen attempts at negotiating other counterfeit copies of this same check all over the country.
On December 5, 2006 Johnson deposited a check for $18,776.38, issued by Wells Fargo, into his AFCU account. This check was returned as counterfeit during the clearing process and the money was never released to Johnsons account. There have been over 80 attempts to negotiate the same counterfeit check nationwide.
Johnson admitted to agents of the U.S. Secret Service that he was recruited through the internet as part of a scam through which he was supposed to deposit third party checks into his account, keep a percentage of the money and send the rest of the funds overseas. Johnson deposited the checks but spent the money instead. Johnson admitted that both counterfeit checks came from the same source. The intended loss was $108,768.33.
Source: United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein