Multi-Agency/Joint Investigation Leads to More Than Three Dozen Charged in Organized Criminal Enterprise

News conference: Today (Friday, May 5), Police HQ 3rd floor

An extensive and complex multi-agency investigation into banking fraud, cigarette trafficking and money laundering has led to 43 people indicted on more than 740 crimes in Henrico County, Va. The two-year investigation began in January 2015 when a bank investigator in Fairfax County, contacted a Fairfax County Police detective to report a group of 12 to 14 people were engaged in a type of bank fraud known as “check kiting.” Check kiting is the act of intentionally writing checks from accounts with no available funds.

The detective confirmed fraud was occurring and further discovered the suspects were also fraudulently building up banking credit through numerous deposits and withdrawals in a short period of time. This technique is known as an “account bustout.” Additionally, the suspects rented numerous cars from rental car companies with debit cards; however, the suspects would withdraw money from the bank accounts before the transaction was completed, which prevented the business from receiving due payment. The suspects committed check kiting and account bustout fraud at nine banks in Fairfax County. The total monetary loss for the bank that initially reported the fraud was approximately $620,000.

The Fairfax County detective’s investigation revealed the suspects were using addresses in the Northern Virginia and Richmond areas. He contacted the FBI’s Washington Field Office Organized Crime Squad and a joint investigation was initiated. Together, they discovered more than 80 suspects were involved in the banking fraud. Further investigation indicated many were also involved in cigarette tax fraud and smuggling, operating from a home in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County.

Financial records showed suspects were making large purchases within short periods of time at Richmond-area gas stations and convenience stores. Detectives then notified Henrico and Chesterfield County Police detectives of this suspicious activity. Henrico and Chesterfield County detectives immediately got involved and through cooperation and collaboration with our department, Chesterfield County, the FBI, State Department, Homeland Security Investigations and a number of businesses, Henrico County was able to indict 43 people on 743 criminal charges relating to bank fraud, cigarette trafficking and money laundering on April 24, 2017.

Members of the media are invited to a news conference to hear more about this case and the significance and impact of these types of crimes from Second Lieutenant Thomas Harrington, of the FCPD Criminal Intelligence Division:

WHEN: Friday, May 5, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Police Headquarters (Massey Building), 3rd floor; 4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030

CONTACT: PFC Tawny Wright, Media Relations Bureau, 703-246-2253