FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Nine Alleged Gang Members and Associates Indicted for
Stealing over $94,000 in Bank Larceny Scheme
Allegedly Deposited Counterfeit Checks and Withdrew Funds before
Banks Discovered the Fraud; Charged in Four Separate Indictments
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that nine alleged gang members and their associates have been variously charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument for allegedly stealing over $94,000 from banks by depositing counterfeit checks and withdrawing available funds before the forgery was detected.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We now know that gang members are increasingly using financial fraud to pay for their lifestyle – like they allegedly did in the simple yet very lucrative scheme charged in these indictments. We will continue to investigate and prosecute this facet of gang activity to get dangerous individuals off the streets and make sure stolen money isn’t used to fund violent acts.”
Commissioner O’Neill said, “The defendants in this case thought they could make a quick buck with some bad checks. But when you look at the balance sheet—with 241 counterfeit checks and $94,000 in illegal proceeds– you see for these nine defendants, who face up to seven years in prison, that crime doesn’t pay.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Trumane Gibbs, 23, of East Flatbush; Michael Morris, 21, of Crown Heights; Darnell Brown, 24, of Brownsville; Tevon Allen, 28, of Flatlands; Daquan Johnson, 24, of Flatbush; Timothy Brown, 23, of Ditmas Park; Jeffrey Debrosse, 27, of Midwood; Julian Hubbard, 21, of East Flatbush; and Jermel Belfast, 30, of Flatbush. Morris, Belfast, Allen, Darbell Brown and Debrosse were arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The four remaining defendants are being sought. They were all variously charged in four separate indictments with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and third- and fourth-degree grand larceny. The defendants face up to seven years in prison if convicted of each of the top counts with which they are charged.
The Acting District Attorney said that during certain periods between June 2014 and March 2016, the defendants deposited a total of 241 allegedly counterfeit checks into 71 bank accounts and then made withdrawals, causing losses that exceeded $94,000, according to the indictments.
It is alleged that the defendants recruited individuals to open new accounts or provide them with personal information of existing accounts at Bank of America, TD Bank, Capital One and JP Morgan Chase. When customers deposit checks into retail accounts, these banks make a certain amount available to customers even though the checks have not cleared the institution that issued them. The defendants and co-conspirators quickly withdrew the available funds before the checks were discovered to be fraudulent, causing monetary losses to the banks (which credited the affected account holders), according to the indictments. Most of the check deposits took place at ATM locations, according to the investigation.
The investigation further revealed that Gibbs and Morris are members of a subset of the 8-Tray Crips gang called Bosses in Business; Johnson and Brown are members of the Flatbush G-Stone Crips crew; Hubbard belongs to the Folk Nation gang and some of the remaining defendants are allegedly associated with other street crews.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Cooper Gorrie of the District Attorney’s Cyber Crimes Unit, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Daniel Tibbets of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau and Chief Investigative Analyst Brian Selfon of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, under the supervision of Felice Sontupe, Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Dana Roth, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.