Third defendant in state-wide check-cashing scheme sentenced to 20 years

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – (10/31/19) Carlos A. Spann, 42, of Shreveport, Louisiana, was sentenced October 29, 2019, to 20 years in federal prison for his role in a fraudulent check-cashing scheme resulting in the theft of nearly $400,000, according to U.S. Attorney David C. Joseph.

Chief U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. also ordered Spann to pay $399,723.04 in restitution to Tower Loan and Walmart Global Investigations. 

In addition to his term of imprisonment, Judge Hicks sentenced Spann to five years of supervised release following his release.

At the conclusion of a four-day trial, Spann was found guilty by a federal jury on Feb. 7, 2019, of one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and two counts of wire fraud. 

Evidence admitted at trial showed that Carlos A. Spann, Phelix K. Williams, 29, Anthony E. Johnson, 24, both of Shreveport and others, conspired to cash counterfeit checks using fraudulent identities at banks and retail establishments throughout Louisiana. 

Spann provided his co-conspirators with altered overlays for identification cards along with counterfeit checks drawn on Tower Loan’s bank account and counterfeit checks drawn on a United States Postal Service bank account. 

Surveillance video captured each of the men using altered identification cards to cash the counterfeit checks. During the conspiracy, they negotiated more than 100 counterfeit checks. 

Spann has a two-decade long history of committing white collar fraud crimes, including nine prior convictions of offenses such as counterfeiting and credit card fraud. 

At his sentencing, additional evidence was presented of Spann’s attempts to obstruct justice by obtaining affidavits containing false statements, tampering with lawfully issued subpoenas and discussing trial testimony with prospective witnesses.      

 “This offender made a career out of defrauding the people and businesses of Louisiana out of their hard-earned money,” Joseph said.  

“The 20-year sentence handed down in this case should send a clear message to others that might consider engaging in this type of criminal activity.  I want to thank the prosecutors from my office, the U.S. Secret Service, the Shreveport Police Department, and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office for their hard work in uncovering this fraud and bringing this matter to justice.”

“This case exemplifies how important partnerships between Federal and local law enforcement successfully bring criminals like Spann, Williams and Johnson to justice,” said Tara McLeese, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Baton Rouge Office.

“Special thanks to the talented prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Louisiana whose tireless efforts have ensured the public is now protected from financial fraud perpetrated by these individuals,” McLeese said.

On Feb. 4, 2019, the morning his trial was scheduled to begin, Williams pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, 13 counts of bank fraud and two counts of wire fraud. 

In June, Hicks sentenced Williams to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised probation and also ordered him to pay $399,723.04 in restitution, while Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and two counts of bank fraud in January. 

Although Johnson’s original sentencing date was set for May 1, 2019, it was continued and has not been rescheduled as yet.

The U.S. Secret Service, Shreveport Police Department, and Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany E. Fields and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Van Hook prosecuted the case.

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