Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning announced Thursday three Ghanian citizens who are lawful residents of the United States were convicted of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The defendants named in the case include:
- 36-year-old Mohammed “Kofi” Kwaning of Laurel, Maryland
- 30-year-old Mark Dennis of Laurel, Maryland
- 30-year-old Charles Mensah of the Bronx, New York
Kwaning acquired bank account information from victims to include the investment account management firms listed in the indictment. He also acquired forged checks that contained account information of corporate and individual victims from across the U.S., according to court documents.
Mohammed recruited Sandra Badu, Mark Dennis, Charles Mensah, Francis “Pino” Fosu and Abayomi Davies to take part in the scheme. Those individuals registered corporate shell entities with the state of Maryland and set up bank accounts at several financial institutions in the names of the shell entities.
Kwaning directed funds from the compromised accounts to be wired to those accounts. He also altered and provided checks from the compromised accounts to Mohammed who would give the checks to the individuals he previously recruited. Those individuals would withdraw stolen funds from the accounts, before the bank discovered they were compromised, according to the superseding indictment.
The conspirators would call the banks pretending to be the account holders to request the password to the accounts to be reset. The conspirators attempted to withdraw $1.3 million from the compromised accounts, but were only able to withdraw approximately $229,000.
Kwaning’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 16, 2018. Dennis and Mensah’s sentencing is scheduled for January 19, 2018. The other coconspirators have pleaded guilty.