Santa Ana, CA – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – Garden Grove resident Jeffrey Harris, 40, appeared this morning in federal court to answer charges involving his leadership of a scheme to defraud federally insured banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Harris pleaded guilty to two felony counts, namely, conspiracy involving fraudulently altered United States Postal Service money orders and bank fraud.
In a February 2006 indictment the grand jury named Harris as the “leader and organizer of a criminal ring” which operated from as early as October 2003 and continuing through into 2005. As leader of the conspiracy scheme, Harris distributed hundreds of altered Postal money orders to middlemen who recruited almost a dozen individuals to negotiate the cash equivalent instruments. Under Harris’ direction, a series of forgers altered the money orders to significantly inflate their payable amounts prior to being distributed by Harris. After negotiating the fraudulent money orders at banks in southern California, Utah, and Missouri, Harris and his associates collected over $1 million dollars from the scheme.
Fourteen co-defendants charged in the indictment along with Harris have already pleaded guilty to federal charges ranging from conspiracy to bank fraud. The first of Harris’ co-defendants is scheduled for sentencing on July 24, 2006.
Harris is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30, 2006 before the honorable Cormac J. Carney, US District Court Judge. Harris faces statutory maximum penalties of up to 35 years imprisonment and over a million dollars in fines for his conduct. Additionally, Harris will likely have to pay restitution for the loss amount to victims. The victim banks affected by this scheme include Bank of America, Bank of the West, Washington Mutual Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union, Transportation Alliance Bank, and Central Bank.
Local law enforcement have reportedly identified Jeffrey Harris, a.k.a. “Du-Roc,” as a member of the Insane Crips. Harris is believed to have been established as a high ranking member of the gang which is known to be active in Long Beach, California.
The plea is a result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and IRS Criminal Investigation.
“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates to the American public that IRS Criminal Investigation’s commitment goes far beyond investigating tax crimes,” said Kenneth J. Hines, Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Field Office. “Our Special Agents are called upon to use their financial skills and expertise to unravel criminal enterprises, such as in this case. IRS Criminal Investigation will aggressively pursue fraudulent schemes and illegal activities to ensure that criminals are held accountable.”
IRS Criminal Investigation is a law enforcement agency of the United States Department of the Treasury. In addition to investigative jurisdiction over the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26 U.S.C.) IRS Special Agents conduct and participate with investigations involving Criminal Code (Title 18) and Bank Secrecy Act (Title 31) violations such as money laundering and conspiracy.