Laurel Man One of Four Men Who Pled Guilty to $1 Million Card-Cracking Fraud Scheme
A laurel man is one of four men to plead puilty to $1 million card-Cracking fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Caesar Adigwe, 32, of Charlottesville, and three Maryland men, Chea Yarl, 31, of Hyattsville, Samuel Smith, 31, of Hagerstown, and Thomas Gherense, 32, of Laurel, worked together to defraud numerous financial institutions throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. From 2013 to 2019, they engaged in numerous card-cracking schemes where they deposited counterfeit checks into bank accounts belonging to third parties and then made cash withdrawals or purchased money orders with debit cards associated with the accounts. During the conspiracy, the defendants produced at least 300 counterfeit checks and opened numerous business accounts using fake IDs. Total losses amounted to at least $1 million.
Yarl pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft, and faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when sentenced on June 12. Smith, Adigwe, and Gherense pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and each face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Smith and Gherense are scheduled to be sentenced on June 5. Adigwe is scheduled to be sentenced on June 19. 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.