Fairview Heights man sentenced in federal court for ‘sophisticated’ bank scam | State and Region
A Fairview Heights man was sentenced Friday to 27 months in federal prison for organizing what prosecutors called a “large-scale” bank fraud scheme.
Lagardo Wright, 21, led a team of co-conspirators who printed counterfeit checks, deposited them in other people’s bank accounts and withdrew the money before the banks discovered the checks were fake.
Their scheme targeted at least 10 different financial institutions causing losses of more than $95,000, according to documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois.
According to the charges, Wright found bank accounts to exploit by developing a network of “recruiters”, who convinced account holders to provide their banking information online, including usernames, passwords and identification numbers, in exchange for a promise of money.
Wright and his recruiters found new account holders through social media and cellphone apps. They flaunted their “success” to attract followers, posting photos and videos of cash, expensive clothes, guns, drugs and screenshots showing large account balances.
He and his recruiters urged their online followers to contact them if they had a valid bank account and wanted to win thousands of dollars.
During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Court Judge David Dugan noted that Wright had committed serious crimes while running a sophisticated long-term business for his age.
In addition to the prison sentence, Wright was ordered to spend four years on probation and to pay more than $30,000 in restitution.
Aijeigh McShan and Cedric Sheard, two of Wright’s co-conspirators, have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced next month.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service. He was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke J. Weissler.