LAWFUEL – Law News Network – A Los Angeles man who orchestrated a scheme that led to the
theft of approximately 6,700 United States Treasury checks worth about
$18 million has been sentenced to 262 months in federal prison.
Talcum Marsh III, 47, received the 21-year, 10-month sentence
Thursday evening from United States District Court Judge David O. Carter
in Santa Ana. In addition to the prison term, Judge Carter ordered Marsh
to pay $980,475 in restitution. In sentencing Marsh, Judge Carter
described the case as the largest theft of Treasury checks case he had
seen in his years as a judicial officer.
During a sentencing hearing that spanned several days, Judge
Carter heard witnesses testify about Marsh’s role in the theft and
distribution of the Treasury checks, his involvement in the sale and
distribution of the drug “ecstasy,” and his involvement in the theft and
distribution of credit cards. In a surveillance video submitted shown
during the sentencing hearing, Marsh is heard describing himself as an
“entrepreneur” who could not be expected to act like a “peasant.”
“Talcum Marsh’s sentence of more than 21 years for his role in a
financial crime ring that sought to launder approximately $18 million in
U.S. Treasury checks represents the culmination of a considerable
multi-agency effort put forth during the two-year investigation,” said
J. Stephen Tidwell, Assistant Director in Charge of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office. “This significant sentence
will put a major halt, and hopefully an end, to Marsh’s criminal career
which involved multiple financial and narcotics-related offenses.”
In the scheme related to the Treasury checks, Marsh instructed
United States Postal Service employee George Hall to steal the checks
from the U.S. Mail. Hall delivered the checks to Marsh or Eric Muhammad,
who stored the stolen UST checks for Marsh. Marsh advised Hall that he
only wanted checks with a face value over $1,000, which prompted Hall to
throw out any stolen Treasury checks for a lesser amount. Marsh paid
Hall and Muhammad for stealing the checks and for acting as a
distribution point for the checks.
Marsh and Muhammad distributed the stolen Treasury checks to
various middlemen, including Rashaad Green and Timothy Jones, for the
purpose of negotiating the checks. Green and Jones gave the stolen UST
checks to other participants, such as Joel Boyd, Kyle Thompson,
Corinthia Mims, Cynthia Mims, Sheila Watson and Tenisha Steen, who were
known as “walkers” because they walked the stolen UST checks into
various banks, financial institutions, and check-cashing businesses for
the purpose of cashing the stolen UST checks. The walkers obtained
false identifications to be used in negotiating the stolen UST checks.
Defendants Marvin Miller, Eutonia Lewis, Danielle Jones,
Demetria Turner, Myra Rios, Susan Kenemixay and Nelsy Rubio were known
as “inside plugs” because they worked at the banks, financial
institutions, and check-cashing businesses and knowingly assisted the
walkers in negotiating the stolen UST checks.
The proceeds from the stolen UST checks were divided among all
The investigation revealed that from approximately February 2002
to December 2003, Hall, at the instruction of Marsh, stole approximately
6,700 UST checks worth $18,177,282.26.
Most of the walkers and inside plugs have already been
sentenced, receiving prison terms as high as 70 months. Hall, 49, of
Rancho Cucamonga; Muhammad, 27, of Venice; Steen, 40,of Tustin; and
Marsh’s brother, Benjamin, 41, of Woodland Hills, are scheduled to be
sentenced in the coming weeks.
“Organized criminal enterprises such as this one tear at the
fabric of America’s economy,” said Anthony M. Chapa, Special Agent in
Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office for the Secret Service. “The U.S.
Secret Service remains committed to protecting the financial
infrastructure of the United States.”
Postal Inspector in Charge William P. Atkins said: “The U.S.
Postal Inspection Service will continue to collaborate with other law
enforcement agencies to ensure those who choose to break the law are
brought to justice. Talcum Marsh III violated the community’s trust and
has been convicted and sentenced for his unlawful acts.”
In addition to the Treasury check scheme, Marsh and Green
engaged in drug trafficking activities. In late 2003, Marsh and a
confidential informant discussed how Marsh could sell 1,000 ecstasy
pills to the CI. Green’s job was to manufacture the ecstasy. On December
5, 2003, Marsh sold the CI 150 ecstasy pills for $700. Three days later,
Marsh sold the CI the remaining 850 ecstasy pills for $4,400. Later,
after cutting Marsh out of the loop, Green dealt directly with the CI
and sold him various amounts of ecstasy, cocaine and marijuana.
In a third case of criminal conduct, Boyd and Chad Watts
committed an armed robbery of a Cash Plus store in Stanton, California.
On October 11, 2003, Watts entered the Cash Plus armed with a
semi-automatic handgun that Boyd had provided. In the store, Watts
pointed the gun at an employee’s head, Boyd took approximately $26,625.
At trial, Boyd was convicted of conspiracy to commit the robbery,
robbery, and use of a gun during the robbery. In a separate trial, Watts
was convicted of conspiracy to commit the robbery and robbery. Watts
was found not guilty of the gun charge. Boyd, 30, of Santa Ana, is a
career criminal under federal law, and because of this he was sentenced
on January 23, 2006, to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the
Treasury Check scheme and the armed robbery. Watts, 25, of Santa Ana, is
scheduled to be sentenced on August 14.
These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the United States
Postal Inspection Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.
“Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation is committed to
working with other federal law enforcement agencies and the United
States Attorney’s Office to protect the American public and our
government,” said Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles
Field Office. “Special Agents from the FBI, United States Postal
Service, U.S. Secret Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation worked
together in unraveling this scheme to defraud the American public.”
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Donald Gaffney