Check Fraud Ring: Meat Salesman, Bank Manager, Recruiters, Runners, and Check Manufacturers

Bank manager, teller among 28 charged in massive check fraud, says U.S. attorney in Minneapolis Excerpt:

The conspirators included the branch manager of a TCF Bank in Crystal, a teller at another local bank, a door-to-door meat salesman, and three men who used portable machines to crank out about 1,500 counterfeit checks. Together, along with more than 20 others, they conducted a massive bank fraud operation, stealing or attempting to steal some $2 million from 48 banks and check-cashing offices in Minnesota, Georgia, Oregon, Florida and North Dakota. U.S. Attorney Andy Luger announced at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon the federal indictment of 25 people, and federal criminal charges against three others, in connection with the scheme that started in and continued until September of last year. Some of those arrested made first court appearances an hour before the news conference. About 75 federal, state and local law enforcement officers from 12 agencies were involved in the investigation under the auspices of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, which is coordinated out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis. The task forced traced what appeared to be individual unrelated counterfeit checks passed at an array of banks back to “a large network of individuals engaging in identity theft, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering,” according to a search warrant filed by Ryan Arnold, a special agent with the Secret Service who was assigned to the task force. The search warrant describes extensive surveillance of the criminal enterprise, including individuals going in and out of banks to cash fake checks. Authorities attached GPS devices to several vehicles to track the operatives. One of the people whose identity was stolen was a young woman who posted her photo on Instagram tagged #myfirstpaycheck, where people post pictures of themselves and their first paychecks. The criminal enterprise took information from the photo to create counterfeit checks. Another man, Timothy Tilmam, went door-to-door selling meat. When people wrote him checks for the meat, Tilman passed the identification information on the checks to individuals who the created phony checks that were cashed at banks. The enterprise was divided into three categories of criminals, which included three individuals who manufactured the checks, and 12 “recruiters” who found seven “runners” who went into bank offices to cash the checks, or deposit them into new accounts they created in their own names. In addition, there were two bank employees and the meat salesman.
Comment: Interesting to me because: I'm in banking, it's local, it's complex, and I can't believe they thought they could get away with it.

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