Earlier today in federal court in Minneapolis, a 27-year-old Isanti man pleaded guilty to using stolen identification information to create counterfeit checks to obtain cash from financial institutions and merchandise from retail outlets.
Appearing before United States District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen, Nathan Allen Miller pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. Miller was indicted on December 7, 2010, along with co-defendants Kari Lynn Goodman, age 40, of Savage, and Michelle Rae Schneider, age 35, of Minneapolis.
In his plea agreement, Miller admitted that from November of 2006 through February of 2009, he conspired with others to commit bank fraud in order to obtain money and property. In addition, Miller admitted forging stolen checks and producing counterfeit checks, which were used to purchase items from retail stores. Specifically, on February 16, 2009, he attempted to use a fraudulent check in the amount of $1,262.15 at a store in Shakopee.
On February 25, 2011, Goodman pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. In her plea agreement, Goodman admitted that from November of 2006 through February of 2009, she, too, conspired to commit bank fraud. She also admitted forging stolen checks and producing counterfeit checks for use in buying retail merchandise. Specifically, on August 3, 2008, she used a fraudulent check in the amount of $428.64 at a store in Owatonna.
On December 17, 2010, Schneider pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the U.S. In her plea agreement, Schneider admitted that from December of 2006 through February of 2009, she also conspired with others to commit bank fraud. Moreover, she admitted stealing mail in order to obtain personal identification information and using that information to create false means of identification and counterfeit checks. Schneider, too, used those counterfeit checks at retail businesses. In addition, on September 20, 2008, Schneider used the stolen identity of one victim to obtain money at Mystic Lake Casino in Shakopee; and between December 1, 2008, and February of 2009, she racked up more than $19,000 in fraudulent charges with the identity of another person.
For their crimes, Goodman and Miller each face a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and Schneider faces a potential maximum penalty of five years. Judge Ericksen will determine their sentences at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and other state and local law enforcement agencies. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Otteson.
The Financial Crimes Task Force was established pursuant to state law. It is comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement investigators, who work to combat the growing trend of cross-jurisdictional financial crimes. The task force is overseen by an advisory board, also created under state law.
The USPIS and the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office want to remind people to protect themselves from identity theft. For more information, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov/protect-identity.html
This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by the Nation Interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. It includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.