3 More Men Charged in Central Pa. Bank Fraud & Impersonation Scheme to Steal $2 Million from Banks, Customers

September 6, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced charges against three more men involved in a widespread bank fraud operation that involved impersonation of bank employees and customers, and resulted in thefts of approximately $2 million from consumers and financial institutions.

The Office of Attorney General and Pennsylvania State Police recently filed charges against: Jaire Cotton, 22, of Harrisburg; Lavon Whittaker, 22, of Harrisburg; and Zyaire Monserrat, 22, of Steelton.

All three men are charged with numerous counts of corrupt organizations, identity theft, access device fraud, computer trespass, and related offenses.

Investigators allege the defendants targeted financial institutions and consumers in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, and York Counties.

“These three defendants allegedly played significant roles in this far-reaching scheme to steal from Pennsylvanians and banks,” Attorney General Henry said. “My office, along with investigators with Pennsylvania State Police, are committed to holding accountable everyone involved in this elaborate conspiracy.”

Whittaker ($100,000 unsecured bail), Monserrat ($100,000 unsecured bail), and Cotton ($10,000 unsecured bail) were arraigned in recent days.

Two men allegedly at the top of the fraud operation — Tyreese Lewis, 22, and Carl A. Gonzales, 19 — were charged in weeks prior.

The investigation uncovered numerous fraudulent bank transactions and subsequent purchases. The defendants and co-conspirators withdrew money from accounts or used stolen debit card information to purchase gift cards, which the defendants bought in efforts to conceal the thefts. The defendants made purchases at a variety of locations, including department/apparel stores and gas stations, and redeemed many gift cards for cash.

“All identity theft-related crimes cause significant financial stress for the victims, and often have long-term repercussions taking months, if not years, to rectify,” said Pennsylvania State Police Captain James Cuttitta, Commander of the Special Investigations Division, Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “I’m proud of the work our investigators have done and thankful for the support from the Office of Attorney General.”

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges/arrests are expected.

The case will be prosecuted by the Chief Deputy Attorney General Patrick Schulte. All charges are accusations. The defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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