5 years for bank fraud, ID theft

SIOUX FALLS – A Minneapolis man convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft was sentenced Thursday to more than five years in federal prison.

The 2016 scheme in which Jason Maurice Fagin created fraudulent checks for a co-conspirator to cash at convenience stores and casinos and then buy meth ended with their arrest at Royal River Casino in Flandreau. The loss in their scheme is as much as $95,000.

Fagin, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier to 65 months of custody and three years of supervised release, United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced last week. 

Fagin was also ordered to forfeit personal property and contraband, and to pay restitution and $200 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

Fagin was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 9, 2017, for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. On Nov. 9, 2017, Fagin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. 

According to court documents, between September 2016 and Nov. 16, 2016, Fagin engaged in a scheme to defraud financial institutions while using the personal identifying information of other individuals. Fagin would use the proceeds of the fraud scheme to purchase methamphetamine for his use and to distribute to others for money. 

More specifically, on Nov. 16, 2016, defendants Angelica Marie Hatch-Pequin (“Hatch”) and Fagin were arrested at the Royal River Casino in Flandreau for attempting to negotiate counterfeit checks. 

While trying to negotiate the check, Hatch presented a driver’s license belonging to another individual. Hatch, aided and abetted by Fagin, used the identification of that individual without lawful authority. 

Hatch and Fagin would steal mail from mailboxes located in affluent neighborhoods of Minneapolis, Parsons said. Hatch and Fagin would target mail that appeared to contain bills and checks. Fagin would then use the personal, business and banking information contained in those mail matters to create fraudulent checks.

After Fagin created the fraudulent checks, Hatch would usually cash the counterfeit checks at convenience stores and casinos located throughout Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. 

Hatch and Fagin created and passed fraudulent checks for approximately two months leading up to their arrests in November, Parsons reported. 

Two types of checks were created: payroll and personal checks. Payroll checks would be drafted in amounts ranging from $450 to $2,000; the check presented to the Royal River Casino was for $1,500. Personal checks were made in amounts from $100 to $800. The affected banks were insured by the FDIC at the time of the offenses. The stipulated loss amount relating to Fagin’s and Hatch-Pequin’s criminal conduct was between $40,000 and $95,000. 

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Flandreau Sioux Tribe’s Police Department and Security Department of the hotel and casino, and the Flandreau Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri prosecuted the case. 

Fagin was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service and the Bureau of Prisons. Hatch-Pequin also pleaded guilty to the same charges and was previously sentenced to federal prison.

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