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Three Charged in Alleged Multi-County Check Fraud Scheme

Earlier this month, a Tampa federal judge sentenced three Michigan residents for bank fraud, mail theft, and aggravated identity theft that occurred in Duval, Charlotte, Hillsborough, Manatee, Monroe, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and Seminole Counties between 2007 and 2009.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Gerald Thomas Lange, Anthony Joseph Henig, Kayla Rose Kirklin, and Stephanie Renee Fields conspired to and stole checks and identity information from various mailboxes throughout the Middle District of Florida. They then used the stolen information to create counterfeit checks and fake IDs. They then used the checks (or cashed the checks) at various banks and businesses across the district. Losses to victim banks and other businesses totaled approximately $182,000. There were additional attempts made to negotiate checks that failed for various reasons. Those attempts would have added another $400,000 to the loss tally, according to prosecutors.

Henig, Lange and Kirklin entered guilty pleas to the charges pursuant to plea agreements in March and April of this year. Henig was sentenced to 104 months’ imprisonment. Lange, Henig’s half-brother, was sentenced to 76 months’ imprisonment.

Kirklin was sentenced to 45 months and 16 days of imprisonment for her part in the bank fraud conspiracy.

As part of their sentences, Henig, Lange and Kirklin were ordered to pay restitution in excess of $100,000. The court also entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $180,000 for both brothers and $130,000 for Kirklin. The money judgements represent the amount of proceeds that the defendants received during the commission of the charged criminal conduct.

Fields did not plead guilty this spring with the others but was found guilty of participating in the bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft after a jury trial.

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