Suspect Uses Teens To Defraud Banks

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A Portland, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for a bank fraud scheme whereby he would recruit others, including minors, to deposit fraudulent checks into their personal bank accounts and withdraw cash, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug.

Marcus Raiford, 22, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison and five years’ supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $75,681 in restitution.

According to court documents, beginning in August 2017 and continuing until at least September 2018, Raiford and others recruited individuals, primarily minors, young adults, and students at various local high schools, to deposit counterfeit checks at banks and credit unions throughout the Portland Metropolitan Area. Raiford and his accomplices used social media platforms, including Snapchat and Instagram, to recruit the minors and young adults, promising significant cash payments in exchange for their participation in the scheme.

Individuals recruited by Raiford and his accomplices were instructed to open accounts at various banks or use existing accounts to deposit counterfeit checks made payable to the recruits. The recruits were told they worked for a company that held inactive investments and accounts in need of liquidation, thereby concealing the scheme. In some instances, the recruits were told they needed to deposit the counterfeit checks to help the company avoid tax liability.

Raiford and others requested the recruits’ identification, ATM card, and pin number so counterfeit checks could be made payable to them and deposited into their accounts. Raiford and his accomplices then withdrew the money from ATMs or made point of sale purchases with the ATM cards at various commercial businesses. Over the course of the conspiracy, Raiford and his accomplices deposited more than $150,000 in counterfeit checks.

On December 19, 2018, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 14-count indictment charging Raiford and his accomplices with conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. On August 26, 2020, Raiford pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations and the Vancouver Police Department. It was prosecuted by Rachel K. Sowray, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Source: U.S. Attorney's Office - Oregon

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