Date: January 8, 2020
WASHINGTON – Fetehi Mohammed, 34, of Washington, D.C., who was a branch manager of a Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in Alexandria, Virginia, was sentenced on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 to 33 months in prison for stealing funds from elderly customers' accounts, depositing the funds in the form of cashiers' checks into his personal accounts at another financial institution, and transferring stolen funds from Virginia to the District of Columbia for his use.
The announcement was made by Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Washington, Field Office.
On September 30, 2019, Mohammed pled guilty to a two-count Criminal Information charging in Count One - Interstate Transportation of Money Taken by Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 2314, and Count Two - Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1957. Today, the Honorable Ellen S. Huvelle sentenced Mohammed to a 33-month term of incarceration followed by three years of supervised release on both counts to run concurrently to one another. The Court also ordered Mohammed to pay restitution to Wells Fargo Bank in the amount of $509,864.95. In addition, Judge Huvelle ordered Mohammed to pay a $38,779.01 forfeiture money judgment in addition to the restitution ordered. Wells Fargo Bank has covered the individual account holders for their losses due to Mohammed's criminal conduct, so it will receive any restitution Mohammed pays.
As detailed in the statement of offense, from February 1, 2017, through on or about March 27, 2019, Mohammed exploited his position as a bank branch manager to execute a scheme to defraud elderly bank customers. Mohammed used the trust that he had built with a half-dozen senior clients to steal over $500,000 from their accounts and to transfer some of those funds from Virginia into the District of Columbia for his use and benefit.
"Fraud perpetrated against our senior citizens is deplorable," said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson. "Fetehi Mohammed used his position of trust as a bank manager to victimize elderly bank customers for his own personal benefit. Although his sentence won't right his actions, we hope it brings some closure to those he defrauded."
The U.S. Attorney's Office works with the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and other law enforcement partners on a Financial Crimes Task Force which investigates, among other things, crimes targeting older victims. The Office hopes to build on its work successfully prosecuting such cases and in addition, the Office will continue its extensive community outreach efforts in hopes of increasing awareness to protect seniors.
"This sentencing highlights the joint efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney's Office to prosecute those who prey on our nation's senior citizens," said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge for the Washington Division, Peter Rendina.
"Fetehi Mohammed exploited his position as a bank branch manager to defraud senior citizens of their savings. His sentencing illustrates the Department of Justice's commitment to protecting elder adults and should send a clear message about the consequences for those who prey upon their vulnerability," said U.S. Attorney Liu.
These efforts are part of the Department of Justice's Elder Justice Initiative, a multi-faceted nationwide program to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target senior citizens. According to the Justice Department, each year an estimated $3 billion is stolen or defrauded from millions of American seniors. Through "grandparent scams," fake prizes, romance scams, fraudulent IRS refunds, and even outright extortion, criminals try to exploit some of the most vulnerable Americans and steal their life's savings.
With approximately 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, the population of potential targets continues to grow. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population of Americans over 65 years of age will increase to 83.7 million in 2050, nearly double the estimated population of 43.1 million as of the most recent census.