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Thirteen charged in corporate check fraud scheme

Updated: January 7, 2013 1:27PM



A team of Chicago-area fraudsters used a remarkably simple scam to make off with $2.5 million, federal prosecutors say.

They stole company checks, then created phony businesses with names spelled similarly to those companies so they could deposit the stolen checks.

Thirteen defendants were indicted on federal bank fraud charges for their alleged roles in the scheme, uncovered in a probe led by U.S. postal inspectors.

The fraudsters withdrew $1.6 million and divided it among themselves, according to the indictment.

A dozen defendants who appeared in court Tuesday denied the charges.

They included the alleged scam leaders, brothers Emanuel Lindsey, 32, and Edward Lindsey, 24, both of Chicago, and Derrick Sledge, 32, of Hillside.

All three were charged with five counts of bank fraud.

Ten other defendants were charged with one or more counts of bank fraud.

The alleged fraud occurred between June 2009 and November 2011.

The government is seeking forfeiture of approximately $1.5 million, plus a luxury Mercedes-Benz SUV allegedly bought with the ill-gotten funds.

Each count of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.



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