Defendants sentenced for roles in conspiracy to steal account information, money from bank customers
Interesting News story posted on Thursday, December 22, 2022
CINCINNATI – Four Cincinnatians were sentenced in U.S. District Court for their roles in a conspiracy to steal bank customers’ information in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Lead defendant Keyonte Bronson, 27, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison.
Juan Leonard, Diamond Brocks and Kelliele Berry were also sentenced in Cincinnati this week. Leonard was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Brocks and Berry were both sentenced to time served and a period of supervised release.
Co-defendants previously sentenced include:
Marcus Knox – 30 months in prison
Gregory Palmer – 30 months in prison, and
Kinesha Cavitt – 12 months and one day in prison.
The defendants were all indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2020. They are seven of 11 individuals charged in this case.
According to court documents, five of the defendants were employed as customer service representatives at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, and in conspiracy with the other defendants, stole customer account information from 2018 until August 2020.
The bank employees were recruited into the scheme through social media. The employees were paid by other co-conspirators to identify bank customers with high cash balances, and to steal and provide the customer information to the other co-conspirators.
Other individuals known as “runners” were recruited to enter Fifth Third bank branches to withdraw money from the compromised accounts. These runners were often homeless or drug-addicted. They were given false ID cards with their picture and the name of the account theft victim.
Runners were sometimes taken to thrift stores and bought clothing to match the victims’ identities more appropriately. Co-conspirators drove the runners to and from the bank branches. After withdrawing $3,000 to $8,000, the runners would receive a small payment. Total losses to the bank exceeded $800,000.
Fifth Third had protective measures and a culture in place to help identify potential misuse of customer information and came forward to work together with law enforcement in this case.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, announced the sentences imposed by U.S. District Judge Douglas R. Cole. U.S. Attorney Parker commended the investigation by the United States Secret Service in coordination with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Police Department, Drug Abuse Reduction Taskforce (DART) and Cincinnati Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy S. Mangan is representing the United States in this case.