Michigan Attorney General Granholm Files Charges Against Five Individuals For Stealing Income Tax Checks

Apr 19, 2001, 01:00 ET from Michigan Attorney General

    LANSING, Mich., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney General Jennifer M.
 Granholm, Michigan State Police Colonel Michael D. Robinson, and State
 Treasurer Mark A. Murray today announced that felony criminal charges have
 been filed against five Detroit residents for stealing checks intended to pay
 personal State of Michigan income taxes.  The five are variously charged with
 racketeering, forgery, and check theft in connection with two separate cases
 in which checks and money orders written to the State of Michigan were stolen
 and either cashed or used to order fraudulent checks in the taxpayers' names.
 The defendants and charges include:
     *  Kimberly Alicia Fowlkes, age 35, charged with four counts of forging
 checks and four counts of intentionally drafting a false document with the
 intent to defraud, also known as uttering and publishing.
     *  Sharon Ann Siler, age 36, charged with four counts of forging checks
 and four counts of uttering and publishing.
     *  Delisa Kenvatta Holland, age 28, charged with three counts of stealing
 checks.
     *  Sandra Alfreda Manns, age 44, charged with one count of conspiracy to
 commit forgery and one count of conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing.
     *  Dwayne Eugene Williams, age 28, charged with one count of knowingly
 conducting an illegal enterprise, also known as racketeering.
 
     The charges against Fowlkes, Siler, and Holland were filed in the 36th
 District Court in Detroit.  Charges against Manns and Williams were filed in
 the 12th District Court in Jackson.
     Granholm said:  "Perhaps what is most disheartening about these cases is
 the fact that they involve checks that conscientious, honest taxpayers wrote
 to pay their share of Michigan's taxes.  No one relishes the thought of having
 to write a check at tax time -- the idea that it could then be used to steal
 from your bank account adds painful insult to injury."
     Robinson said:  "Our compassion goes out to the victims of this crime who
 have endured all the problems associated with stolen identity and financial
 crimes.  In addition, banks and businesses have suffered and have accepted the
 loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is by no means a victimless
 crime as some may believe."
     Robinson added:  "The investigators of the Michigan Office of the Attorney
 General and the United States Postal Inspectors Office in Detroit deserve
 special recognition in working together with our Major Crimes Unit in a united
 effort to bring these individuals to justice."
     Murray said:  "We applaud the Attorney General and State Police for their
 efforts in aggressively investigating this criminal activity.  This incident
 violates public trust and cannot be tolerated.  The company involved is no
 longer under contract by Bank One, and Michigan taxpayers can be confident in
 the steps that have been taken and continue to be taken to ensure the future
 security of Michigan's tax returns."
     In the first case, Fowlkes and Siler allegedly stole as many as 100 money
 orders made out to the State of Michigan.  According to the complaint, the two
 then altered the payee information on the orders from the State of Michigan to
 either themselves or directly to companies to whom they owed money.  At the
 time of the alleged crimes, Siler was employed by Norrell Temporary Services
 who contracted with Bank One to process 1999 State of Michigan income tax
 returns.  Siler's job was to separate payment checks from the tax returns.
 The complaint alleges that between April and May 2000, Siler stuffed as many
 as 100 money orders worth as much as $10,000 into her pocket before leaving at
 the end of her workday.
     According to the complaint, Siler also brought Fowlkes with her to work at
 the Bank One facility on at least two occasions.  Though she was not employed
 by either Bank One or Norrell, she worked with Siler to remove money orders
 from the tax returns.  Fowlkes is accused of stealing six money orders and
 accepting an additional thirty from Siler.
     In the second case, defendants Holland, Mans, and Williams are accused of
 conspiring to steal income tax checks that were used as the basis of a complex
 scheme to pass counterfeit checks at retail stores around the state.
     According to the complaint, Delisa Holland was also employed by Norrell
 Temporary Services to process State of Michigan income tax returns.  Between
 March and May 2000, Holland allegedly stole as many as 15 of the checks that
 she separated from the tax returns.  She then gave the checks to Dwayne
 Williams who used the information from the stolen checks to order new boxes of
 checks in the taxpayers' names.  Williams is accused of then setting up an
 organization of individuals across the state to pass the counterfeit checks.
 Eventually, at least 120 counterfeit checks were passed at 25 Michigan retail
 outlets around the state, resulting in a financial loss of $80,000.  The
 merchandise purchased was stored in U-Haul trucks until it could be resold at
 roughly 50% of its value.  Sandra Mans is accused of helping Williams order
 the fraudulent checks and of renting the U-Haul trucks.
     Granholm said:  "This appears to have been a relatively sophisticated
 scheme built on a cornerstone of stolen tax dollars.  The Michigan State
 Police Major Crimes Unit deserves the lion's share of the credit for piecing
 this intricate puzzle together.  I would also like to thank the U.S. Postal
 Inspection Service for its investigative work on these cases."
     Forgery, uttering and publishing, and conspiracy to commit them are all
 punishable by 14 years in prison.  Stealing a financial transaction device is
 punishable by 4 years in prison and/or a $2,000 fine.  Racketeering is
 punishable by 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
     A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed
 innocent unless and until proven guilty.
     All Attorney General news releases may be found at www.ag.state.mi.us
 
 

SOURCE Michigan Attorney General
    LANSING, Mich., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney General Jennifer M.
 Granholm, Michigan State Police Colonel Michael D. Robinson, and State
 Treasurer Mark A. Murray today announced that felony criminal charges have
 been filed against five Detroit residents for stealing checks intended to pay
 personal State of Michigan income taxes.  The five are variously charged with
 racketeering, forgery, and check theft in connection with two separate cases
 in which checks and money orders written to the State of Michigan were stolen
 and either cashed or used to order fraudulent checks in the taxpayers' names.
 The defendants and charges include:
     *  Kimberly Alicia Fowlkes, age 35, charged with four counts of forging
 checks and four counts of intentionally drafting a false document with the
 intent to defraud, also known as uttering and publishing.
     *  Sharon Ann Siler, age 36, charged with four counts of forging checks
 and four counts of uttering and publishing.
     *  Delisa Kenvatta Holland, age 28, charged with three counts of stealing
 checks.
     *  Sandra Alfreda Manns, age 44, charged with one count of conspiracy to
 commit forgery and one count of conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing.
     *  Dwayne Eugene Williams, age 28, charged with one count of knowingly
 conducting an illegal enterprise, also known as racketeering.
 
     The charges against Fowlkes, Siler, and Holland were filed in the 36th
 District Court in Detroit.  Charges against Manns and Williams were filed in
 the 12th District Court in Jackson.
     Granholm said:  "Perhaps what is most disheartening about these cases is
 the fact that they involve checks that conscientious, honest taxpayers wrote
 to pay their share of Michigan's taxes.  No one relishes the thought of having
 to write a check at tax time -- the idea that it could then be used to steal
 from your bank account adds painful insult to injury."
     Robinson said:  "Our compassion goes out to the victims of this crime who
 have endured all the problems associated with stolen identity and financial
 crimes.  In addition, banks and businesses have suffered and have accepted the
 loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is by no means a victimless
 crime as some may believe."
     Robinson added:  "The investigators of the Michigan Office of the Attorney
 General and the United States Postal Inspectors Office in Detroit deserve
 special recognition in working together with our Major Crimes Unit in a united
 effort to bring these individuals to justice."
     Murray said:  "We applaud the Attorney General and State Police for their
 efforts in aggressively investigating this criminal activity.  This incident
 violates public trust and cannot be tolerated.  The company involved is no
 longer under contract by Bank One, and Michigan taxpayers can be confident in
 the steps that have been taken and continue to be taken to ensure the future
 security of Michigan's tax returns."
     In the first case, Fowlkes and Siler allegedly stole as many as 100 money
 orders made out to the State of Michigan.  According to the complaint, the two
 then altered the payee information on the orders from the State of Michigan to
 either themselves or directly to companies to whom they owed money.  At the
 time of the alleged crimes, Siler was employed by Norrell Temporary Services
 who contracted with Bank One to process 1999 State of Michigan income tax
 returns.  Siler's job was to separate payment checks from the tax returns.
 The complaint alleges that between April and May 2000, Siler stuffed as many
 as 100 money orders worth as much as $10,000 into her pocket before leaving at
 the end of her workday.
     According to the complaint, Siler also brought Fowlkes with her to work at
 the Bank One facility on at least two occasions.  Though she was not employed
 by either Bank One or Norrell, she worked with Siler to remove money orders
 from the tax returns.  Fowlkes is accused of stealing six money orders and
 accepting an additional thirty from Siler.
     In the second case, defendants Holland, Mans, and Williams are accused of
 conspiring to steal income tax checks that were used as the basis of a complex
 scheme to pass counterfeit checks at retail stores around the state.
     According to the complaint, Delisa Holland was also employed by Norrell
 Temporary Services to process State of Michigan income tax returns.  Between
 March and May 2000, Holland allegedly stole as many as 15 of the checks that
 she separated from the tax returns.  She then gave the checks to Dwayne
 Williams who used the information from the stolen checks to order new boxes of
 checks in the taxpayers' names.  Williams is accused of then setting up an
 organization of individuals across the state to pass the counterfeit checks.
 Eventually, at least 120 counterfeit checks were passed at 25 Michigan retail
 outlets around the state, resulting in a financial loss of $80,000.  The
 merchandise purchased was stored in U-Haul trucks until it could be resold at
 roughly 50% of its value.  Sandra Mans is accused of helping Williams order
 the fraudulent checks and of renting the U-Haul trucks.
     Granholm said:  "This appears to have been a relatively sophisticated
 scheme built on a cornerstone of stolen tax dollars.  The Michigan State
 Police Major Crimes Unit deserves the lion's share of the credit for piecing
 this intricate puzzle together.  I would also like to thank the U.S. Postal
 Inspection Service for its investigative work on these cases."
     Forgery, uttering and publishing, and conspiracy to commit them are all
 punishable by 14 years in prison.  Stealing a financial transaction device is
 punishable by 4 years in prison and/or a $2,000 fine.  Racketeering is
 punishable by 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine.
     A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed
 innocent unless and until proven guilty.
     All Attorney General news releases may be found at www.ag.state.mi.us
 
 SOURCE  Michigan Attorney General