First Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Nasir Joseph Outlaw, 22, of King of Prussia, PA, was sentenced to 44 months in prison and five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $47,575 in restitution by United States District Judge Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., for his role as one of the leaders of a large scale bank fraud and identity theft ring that operated primarily in the Reading, PA area.
In December 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. In addition to the conviction of Outlaw, the investigation in this matter led to separate federal charges against 31 other members of the same fraud ring – 30 of whom have since pleaded guilty, while charges remain pending against one member of the fraud ring. One leader of this fraud ring, Steven Ronald Randal of Philadelphia, was previously sentenced on in June 2018 by Judge Leeson to 111 months in prison.
As part of his guilty plea, Outlaw admitted that between June and December 2017, he knowingly executed separate schemes to defraud First National Bank and Fulton Bank through the deposit of fraudulent checks and the withdrawal of cash before the banks discovered that the checks were fraudulent. The defendant admitted that he recruited at least six other co-schemers to participate as account holders and additional recruiters. Outlaw also admitted that he used the account holders’ ATM debit cards and PINs to personally deposit fraudulent checks and make cash withdrawals, he supervised other co-schemers and instructed them to make deposits and withdrawals from the accounts, and he personally obtained checks from inactive or closed accounts that he knew were closed. In total, the defendant was directly responsible for defrauding the two banks out of $47,575.12, and he admitted that he intended to defraud the banks out of more than $64,000.
“This was a sophisticated scheme involving dozens of defendants that took excellent investigative work to unravel,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Williams. “Financial fraud and identity theft harm hard-working individuals every day. Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute the perpetrators and seek justice for victims.”
“The thirty-first individual, in a sprawling conspiracy to defraud local banks that stretched across most of Southeastern Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to nearly four years in jail,” said Damon Wood, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Philadelphia Division. “This conspiracy relied on the mail to obtain the debit cards needed to discreetly deposit stolen and counterfeit checks into controlled accounts at ATM machines. When criminals use the mail to commit a crime, they shouldn’t be surprised when Postal Inspectors knock on their door along with their law enforcement partners. I want to congratulate the investigators and prosecutors from the FBI, Cumru Township, and the United States Attorney’s Office, who worked alongside Inspectors on this long investigation, who identified and prosecuted nearly three dozen co-conspirators, and who worked to hold those who led the conspiracy accountable with significant sentences.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Cumru Township Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.