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Sacramento Gang Member Sentenced to Over 10 Years for Leadership of Nationwide Bank Fraud Scheme



United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown announced today that CHARLES BARKSDALE, 28, of Oakland and Sacramento, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. to 10 years and 10 months in prison for bank fraud. BARKSDALE pleaded guilty on February 17, 2009. Papers filed with the court indicate that he is a member of the “G-Mob” gang in Sacramento.

This case is the product of investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and police and sheriffs’ departments in several states.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Matthew D. Segal, who prosecuted the case, the scheme netted between $1 million and $2 million in losses to 37 financial institutions in late 2007 and early 2008. The schemers, operating from California, sent runners to Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas to use so-called “prepaid” credit cards for cash advances at banks.

Although the cards only had small amounts of money available, the runners would tell the bank tellers to call a toll-free number that was controlled by a co-schemer. The co-schemer would pose as a card services representative, state that there were thousands of dollars available on the card, and then instruct the teller on what buttons to press on the card terminal in order to make the transaction go through.

The runner would then keep a portion of the funds for his or herself, and would remit a portion of the fraudulently obtained funds, typically half, to BARKSDALE and others in the Sacramento area. Runners sent money by Federal Express, by wire, or by depositing funds into bank accounts controlled by BARKSDALE and others.

On July 7, 2008, Secret Service, FBI, and police investigators executed search warrants at multiple locations in Sacramento. At the time, BARKSDALE was in Sacramento County Jail on unrelated charges.

When he learned of the searches, he called a woman he knew. On the recorded line, he used coded language to instruct the woman to destroy a computer, withdraw funds from a bank account, and remove expensive merchandise from a residence.

Judge Damrell, in sentencing, said that BARKSDALE was the “Chairman of the Board” in an extensive criminal enterprise, responsible not only for stealing over $1 million, but also for bringing many more people into the scheme.

Judge Damrell looked at BARKSDALE’s extensive record of arrests, which included arrests for violent crimes, and commented that since his teenaged years, “Mr. Barksdale has been an active criminal.”


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