Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

December 18, 2013

Counterfeit check ring involving stolen checks from Philadelphia post office broken-up

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced the break-up of a counterfeit check ring and charges against three of the operation's leaders. The joint investigation, led by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Section, along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, revealed an alleged theft of more than $6 million of business checks from a U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Philadelphia.

Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged illegal activity was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges filed. 

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Traore Boubacar

 
Amed Conde

 
Jeremy Gekonge


Saheed Adebayo

 
Adebisis Oladipupo

According to the grand jury, the stolen checks were frequently transacted after being altered, counterfeited or deposited through fictitious business accounts. Some of the checks were allegedly transacted in Philadelphia by a number of unidentified co-conspirators in order to open checking accounts with a Wells Fargo branch at 34th and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia.

The grand jury found that Amed Conde sent individuals into the bank with business checks, which were stolen from the post office. The stolen checks were altered and made payable to individuals, who presented them using false identification.

Conde allegedly recruited Traore Boubacar, an account representative with Wells Fargo, who used his position at the bank to open accounts with the counterfeit checks. In order for the scheme to work, money had to be immediately withdrawn from the recently created accounts. Therefore, according to the grand jury, Jeremy Gekonge, a teller at the Wells Fargo branch allegedly "overrode" the accounts allowing for immediate withdrawal of the counterfeit monies.

Attorney General Kane noted that two additional defendants, Saheed Adebayo and Adebisi Oladipupo, were charged during an earlier phase of the investigation. The grand jury found that some of the checks stolen between March 2010 and July 2012 from distribution center in Philadelphia were also utilized in Internet fraud schemes.

According to the grand jury, victims were targeted by con artists online mainly through claims to assist them with financial difficulties. Once the victims were targeted, they allegedly received instructions via email to open bank accounts and deposit the checks they received in the mail from the online con artist.

Agents were able to trace the checks that each of these victims deposited back to those stolen from the Philadelphia distribution center.

Adebayo and Oladipupo are currently awaiting trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

"These defendants combined old fashioned thievery with identity theft in the digital age," Attorney General Kane said. "We will follow and undermine every creative criminal scheme and bring the perpetrators to justice."

Gekonge was taken into custody on Dec. 17, 2013. Boubacar and Conde remain at large and anyone with information about their whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Organized Crime Section at 610-631-5946. Attorney General Kane noted that this continues to be an active and ongoing investigation.

The defendants will be prosecuted in Philadelphia by Senior Deputy Attorney General Heather Castellino of the Attorney General's Organized Crime Section.

Attorney General Kane thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General for their assistance with the investigation.

Below is a complete list of defendants and the charges against them.

--Traore Boubacar, 36, 2658 S. Lloyd St., Philadelphia, is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal attempt, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, one count of receiving stolen property, one count of forgery, one count of bad checks, one count of securing execution of documents by deception and one count of identity theft.

--Amed Conde, 43, 3900 City Ave., Apt. D727, Philadelphia, is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal attempt, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, one count of receiving stolen property, one count of forgery, one count of bad checks, one count of securing execution of documents by deception and one count of identity theft.

--Jeremy Gekonge, 29, 3042 Joshua Road, Lafayette Hill, Montgomery County, is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal attempt, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, one count of receiving stolen property, one count of forgery, one count of bad checks, one count of securing execution of documents by deception and one count of identity theft.

--Saheed Adebayo, 58, 333 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn, NY, is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal attempt, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition and one count of receiving stolen property.

--Adebisis Oladipupo, 35, 320 Nate Ellis Drive, Chester, Chester County, is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal attempt, one count of theft by deception, one count of theft by unlawful taking or disposition and one count of receiving stolen property.


( A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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