R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Miami Field Office, and Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, announce today’s sentencing by United States District Court Judge Kenneth Ryskamp of defendant Reginald Deriphonse. Deriphonse was sentenced to 87 months’ imprisonment. Following his term of imprisonment, the Judge directed that defendant Deriphonse be surrendered to immigration authorities for any appropriate deportation proceedings. Co-defendant Joseph Badamo was sentenced to a term of 70 months’ incarceration.
The sentencings of Deriphonse and Badamo conclude a long running joint investigation by the United States Secret Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service into identity theft and counterfeiting of company checks. In addition to these two defendants, this prosecution resulted in the previous conviction and sentencing of 16 other individuals, including two corrupt bank employees.
According to the court records in the case, the scheme operated with the help of corrupt bank employees. These corrupt bank employees would obtain individuals’ personal account information and copies of company checks, and give them to defendant Deriphonse. Deriphonse would provide copies of actual checks to defendant Joseph Badamo, a computer expert. On occasion, defendant Deriphonse would re-route the original checks he obtained from the bank employees and mail the checks to an address controlled by one of the participants in the scheme. Defendant Badamo would scan the checks, slightly alter the signatures, and then place this information on new checks he generated using the real account numbers.
To complete the scheme, defendant Deriphonse had accomplices who recruited people willing to have their names placed on the counterfeit checks in return for a fee. These individuals whose name were placed on the check would then go to the bank, and cash the counterfeit checks, returning the cash to the defendants. Through this scheme, the defendants caused a loss of more than $1.5 million to individual victims and banks.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the United States Secret Service, Miami Field Office, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kerry Baron.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.