Trio of Tampa Fraudsters and Identity Thieves Sentenced to Federal Prison

Trio of Tampa Fraudsters and Identity Thieves Sentenced to Federal Prison

MOBILE, AL – Three defendants from Tampa, Florida were sentenced to federal prison for engaging in a scheme to commit bank fraud and identity theft involving counterfeit checks and stolen mail.

According to court documents and evidence presented at a jury trial, Timothy Howard Buchanan, 39, Tyre Dayshawn Crawford, 31, and Jaleeshia Deanna Robinson, 33, were arrested by deputies with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office during a traffic stop in February 2022. The defendants were traveling northbound on I-65 when deputies stopped them after noticing that their rental car had illegal tint applied to its side windows. During the stop, deputies saw drugs in plain view in the car, which led them to search it. Inside the car, deputies found dozens of counterfeit and stolen checks worth more than $348,000. The checks corresponded to victims in multiple states who had their checks stolen from the mail in Alabama and Florida. Deputies also recovered fake and stolen driver’s licenses, a scanner/printer, a check encoder, and a stack of hundreds of sheets of blank check paper.

Deputies and agents with the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service interviewed the defendants, each of whom confessed to their roles in the scheme, which involved defrauding banks by attempting to cash counterfeit checks using fake and stolen driver’s licenses. The counterfeit checks contained the personal identifying information of numerous victims, including names, addresses, bank account numbers, and signatures. The defendants admitted that they would share illicit proceeds of the fraud scheme, which they committed over a period of several months in 2021 and 2022. Crawford and Buchanan had prior felony convictions involving check fraud and use of fraudulent identifications in Hillsborough County, Florida.

At an August 2022 trial, a federal jury convicted Buchanan of bank fraud conspiracy, unlawful possession of fake and stolen identification documents, possession of counterfeit and forged checks, aggravated identity theft, and possession of stolen mail. Crawford and Robinson each pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft before trial.

United States District Judge Kristi K. DuBose sentenced Buchanan to 116 months in federal prison. Crawford and Robinson received prison sentences of 87 months and 18 months, respectively. The court ordered each of the defendants to serve multi-year terms of supervised release upon their release from prison, during which time they will undergo drug testing and treatment and will be subject to credit restrictions. The court did not impose a fine, but Judge DuBose ordered the defendants to pay a total of $44,129.79 in victim restitution and a total of $900 in special assessments.

U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello said, “This case exemplifies our office’s commitment to rooting out and prosecuting fraudsters who prey on the hardworking citizens of our District. The keen eyes, sharp skills, and professional excellence of our partners at the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service led to this positive result. Our office will continue working alongside our law enforcement partners to bring financial criminals to justice and to send a loud and clear message: crime doesn’t pay.”

“The Secret Service has a long and storied history of safeguarding America’s financial and payment systems from criminal exploitation. These conspirators took great efforts in fraudulently obtaining innocent victims’ information, then using that information to defraud various businesses and financial institutions,” said Patrick M. Brown, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Birmingham Field Office. “Identity theft is often a costly and long-lasting threat to every victim who encounters it. This case demonstrates the effective collaboration with our local law enforcement partners in identifying, apprehending, and fully prosecuting those who prey on innocent victims. The success of this case is the result of the partnerships between the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Secret Service.”

The U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Roller and Lydia Lucius prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

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