Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced the charges Wednesday morning, saying checking account details from at least four businesses were allegedly copied and stolen by 25-year-old Latosha Mabry, a former teller at a Sovereign Bank branch located in Dresher, Montgomery County.
According to Kelly, Mabry then gave checking account information to an individual, known only by the nickname "Beans," who allegedly operated a counterfeit check operation.
Participants in the scheme would allegedly open personal bank accounts, deposit the counterfeit checks - usually ranging from $3,000 to $5,500 - into those accounts, and then use ATM machines to withdraw cash. In other instances they would allow their bank cards to be used for cash withdrawals.
According to the criminal complaint, the participants were typically paid $300 to $400 to open bank accounts, deposit the checks, and then turn over their debit cards so that stolen funds could be withdrawn.
The suspects, taken into custody on Tuesday, have been identified as follows:
Two of the suspects, Christopher Canty and August Pauline, are accused of recruiting others to participate in the organization.
The defendants are all facing forgery charges, a second-degree felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $15,000 fine. In addition, the suspects are facing a number of other charges, including theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, identity theft and criminal conspiracy - all third-degree felonies, which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.
According to Kelly, the defendants will be prosecuted in Montgomery County.
The investigation is ongoing.