NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — An Atlanta man who recruited people from local homeless shelters to cash counterfeit business checks was sentenced Thursday to 75 months in prison.
Yumahnn Quashawn Brown, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft on February 23.
Court documents say Brown traveled from Georgia to Virginia and other states several times between August 2015 and August 2016. Prosecutors say the purpose of the trips was to steal mail — including business checks — from industrial parks. Brown also traveled to cash counterfeit checks that were made using the stolen checks as templates.
During the trips, Brown went to homeless shelters and asked people there to perform construction and other day jobs, according to court documents. Brown and the conspirators he was traveling with would provide the people from the shelters with clothing, food, cigarettes and alcohol while transporting them to other areas — often over an hour away from their shelters.
Court paperwork also says Brown would send information about the people he recruited to conspirators traveling in other cars to use in the creation of counterfeit checks. Once they arrived in the targeted area, Brown would give the homeless recruits counterfeit checks and directed them to cash the checks at nearby banks.
In Virginia alone, prosecutors say Brown caused 30 homeless people to cash 70 counterfeit checks drawn on accounts belonging to 29 businesses. The total value of these counterfeit checks was nearly $160,000.