A Huntsville man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges alleging he counterfeited business checks stolen from the mail and reaped in the money gained from cashing them at multiple North Alabama banks.
Bernard Eugene McKinney II, 28, was indicted Wednesday on six counts of fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. The six checks in question earned him and co-conspirators almost $53,000.
A news release from U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance alleges that McKinney would steal the business checks from the U.S. mail and forge the signatures of the people who signed the original checks to make counterfeit ones. He would change the name of the payee to his own or to other people’s names, then he and those others would cash the checks at north Alabama BBVA Compass Bank branches and take the money for personal use.
His co-conspirators were not named in the release and it was not immediately known if they also face charges at this time. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David H. Estes.
The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The punishment for aggravated identity theft is a minimum two-year prison sentence served consecutively with any penalty imposed for a related crime, along with a maximum $250,000 fine.