CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The leader of a $3 million bank fraud scheme involving stolen checks and two co-conspirators were sentenced to prison today, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) which oversees Charlotte, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
Terrell Devon Freeman, 35, of Charlotte, was sentenced to 150 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Joshua MacDavid Monteith, 32, of Charlotte, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release. And Yanalise Simone Hodge, 23, also of Charlotte, was ordered to serve 24 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
According to filed court documents and statements made in court, from October 2020 to September 2021, Freeman was the mastermind of a bank fraud scheme involving stolen mail. The defendants executed the fraud scheme in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia and defrauded at least seven financial institutions.
According to court documents, Freeman and his co-conspirators used a stolen U.S. Postal Service key to open USPS collection boxes in the Charlotte area, from which they stole business and personal checks. The USPS key was obtained following the armed robbery of a postal worker in November of 2020.
The co-conspirators then used fraudulent identifications and straw bank accounts to cash the stolen checks. Over the course of the scheme, Freeman and his co-conspirators deposited or attempted to deposit funds from approximately 86 stolen checks totaling over $3 million.
On September 26, 2021, Monteith was arrested after he used the stolen USPS key to open a collection box in the Ballantyne area. Law enforcement located in Monteith’s vehicle 58 stolen checks totaling more than $19,000. On October 4, 2021, Freeman was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia. Law enforcement recovered from Freeman’s vehicle approximately 1,500 stolen checks, totally over $1.5 million.
Freeman, Monteith, and Hodge each pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy. In addition to the prison term imposed, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr. also ordered Freeman to pay more than $394,000 as restitution.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked USPIS and CMPD for their investigation of the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William T. Bozin, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.