NY Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft; Ring Stole 1,800 Wells Fargo Mortgage Files
Jeffrey Washington, 36, of New York, NY, pled guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Washington was a leader of a group that conspired to steal identity and financial information from Wells Fargo Mortgage offices. There were twelve Wells Fargo offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey that were the subject of burglaries from 2012 through 2014. Over 1,800 mortgage files were stolen that contained identity and financial information. The Wells Fargo mortgage customers had bank accounts at various financial institutions including Wells Fargo Bank, M&T Bank, PNC Bank, Capital One Bank, and TD Bank.
From 2012 – 2013, Washington and other conspirators traveled from New York to Virginia and other states along the East Coast in order to conduct the scheme. They impersonated various bank customers, using counterfeit identifications created from the stolen personal information, and opened business accounts in fake business names in order to drain legitimate customer accounts at various banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In August 2013, conspirator Alice Howard was arrested in the course of impersonating a bank customer at a Wells Fargo bank branch in Ashland, Virginia. Howard was charged with the same scheme and was sentenced to sixty-five (65) months imprisonment in April 2014. Following Howard’s arrest, Washington continued his involvement in obtaining mortgage files through the burglaries of other mortgage offices. Currently, two other individuals have been charged in the scheme.
SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia