A federal grand jury today indicted Christopher Andre Devine, age 33; Quanishia Williamson-Ross, age 31; and Lenee E. Williamson, age 22, all of Salisbury, Maryland, Frederica, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in connection with a bank fraud scheme to use the personal identifying information of individuals to fraudulently obtain money and property.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Wicomico County Sheriff Michael A. Lewis; Acting Special Agent in Charge Eric C. Hylton of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division.
According to the 10 count indictment, from December 2008 through December 22, 2011, in Maryland, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the defendants opened checking accounts or had others open accounts at banks and obtain check cards, which the conspirators then controlled. According to the indictment, the conspirators deposited fraudulent checks into the accounts then used the associated check cards at ATM machines to make cash withdrawals from the accounts.
The defendants are also alleged to have made fraudulent identification documents using the personal information of others but with photographs of Devine, Williamson-Ross and Williamson, which they allegedly used, along with the check cards, to make purchases at retail stores, later returning the purchased items for cash. The indictment further alleges that the defendants also used the check cards to obtain services, such as utilities, cable, and cellular phone service, and make purchases for their personal benefit at restaurants, drug stores, grocery stores, gas stations and video rentals, and other businesses.
According to the indictment Devine, Williamson-Ross and Williamson would not pay for the services and merchandise obtained through the use of the check cards and checking accounts, and the banks suffered a loss when the fraudulent checks deposited by the defendants were returned as unpaid.
The defendants each face a maximum sentence of: 30 years in prison for the bank fraud conspiracy; 15 years in prison on each of four counts of access device fraud; two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence on four counts of aggravated identity theft; and five years in prison for possession of five or more false identification documents. No court appearance has been scheduled. The defendants are detained.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Homeland Security Investigation in Baltimore, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, IRS-CI and the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul E. Budlow and Kristi N. O’Malley, who are prosecuting the case.