Five Facing Federal Charges for a Fraud Scheme Involving the Theft of Checks From the Mail (Value Over $5 Million)

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging five Marylanders with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud and related charges in connection with a fraud scheme involving more than 600 stolen checks with a face value of over $5 million.

Per the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maryland: The indictment was returned on December 7, 2023, and unsealed late on January 19, 2024.  Charged in the indictment are:

Tianna Cosby, a/k/a “Mendoza,” age 23, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland;
Marche Sisco, age 26, of Suitland, Maryland;
Tommi Cosby, age 21, of District Heights, Maryland;
Biniah Carter, age 24, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland; and
Zion Oluwademilade Adeduwon, age 22, of Bowie, Maryland.

Tianna Cosby and Biniah Carter were arrested on January 19, 2024, and are expected to have initial appearances today at 1:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., respectively, in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gina L. Simms.  Law enforcement has not yet located Marche Sisco, Tommi Cosby, and Zion Oluwademilade Adeduwon.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Postal Inspector in Charge Damon E. Wood of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; Executive Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Krafels of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General – Mid Atlantic Field Office; and Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

According to the 18-count indictment, Tianna Cosby and Sisco stole and caused the theft of personal and business checks belonging to victims that had been mailed through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).  Specifically, the indictment alleges that Sisco used her position as a USPS mail handler assistant at the Washington Network Distribution Center (NDC) to steal checks from the NDC, then communicated regarding the sale and distribution of over 600 stolen checks with Cosby.  These checks had a face value of more than $5 million.  In addition to stealing checks from the NDC, the indictment alleges that the conspiracy also obtained checks by stealing them from USPS collection boxes.

Further, the indictment alleges that Tianna Cosby, Tommi Cosby, Carter, and Adeduwon recruited “account mules” – individuals whose bank accounts are used to deposit illegally acquired checks and proceeds of the scheme.  The conspirators then collected and shared account mule information, which included banking and identity information.  The defendants allegedly also used and transferred the means of identification of at least five identity theft victims.  As detailed in the indictment, the conspirators altered the stolen checks to reflect payment to account mules, deposited the fraudulent checks into the bank accounts belonging to the account mules, then engaged in financial transactions, including ATM withdrawals and account transfers, to obtain the proceeds.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud and for each count of bank fraud; and a mandatory two years, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for each count of aggravated identity theft.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

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