This week, it was announced that an Indianapolis man had been charged for his involvement in organizing a fraud ring that used fraudulent checks to purchase gift cards and merchandise from stores across the United States. 28-year-old Frank D. Powell of Indianapolis was charged with seven counts of wire fraud, one count of attempted bank fraud, one count of false statements to a financial institution and one count of aggravated identity theft.
The indictment alleges that between January 2016 and April 8, 2018, the defendant and others presented and used fraudulent checks at Kroger stores in at least 12 states to purchase gift cards and merchandise. Many of the stores were located in the Indianapolis area. It is alleged that Powell and his associates used at least 5,000 fraudulent checks during the course of the scheme. The checks were in at least thirty different individual and business names.
After the checks were processed, they would be returned to Kroger as account closed, forged, unable to locate account or non-sufficient funds. In another scheme, on March 12, 2018, Powell allegedly attempted to defraud a local bank and car dealership when trying to obtain financing to purchase a Cadillac Escalade. The defendant allegedly tried to use the identity of another individual without their knowledge or permission. Powell is accused of using the name, address and social security number of the victim, as well as a fraudulent Illinois driver’s license that contained the victim’s information but his own photograph.
After being discovered, Powell offered one of the employees a sectional sofa to not report the crime. At this point in time, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, the defendant could face a maximum of 30 years on the bank related charges, 20 years on each wire fraud charge and a mandatory minimum of two years on the aggravated identity theft charge.
Further details have been made available here.