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Chicago man sentenced 46 months for bank fraud conspiracy

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BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - A 32-year-old Chicago, Illinois man was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit. 

U.S. District Judge Amanda K. Brailsford imposed the sentence and also ordered Elijah A. Johnson to serve five years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

According to court records, from March 2019 through March 2022, Johnson was part a bank fraud conspiracy that obtained victim bank account information, impersonated account holders, and created and cashed counterfeit checks to obtain money. On part of the conspiracy, Johnson recruited check cashers, drove check cashers, and organized counterfeit check-cashing trips to other states. He has travelled to numerous states to facilitate the conspiracy, including Idaho, Minnesota, Ohio, California, Tennessee, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

Johnson traveled with at least six-co-conspirators to Idaho on May 5, 2020. Johnson drove and assisted other co-conspirators in cashing and attempting to cash counterfeit checks in Idaho between May 6 and 8, 2020. On May 6, Johnson assisted co-conspirators in successfully cashing nine counterfeit checks, totaling $47,054.41. On May 8, the Defendant assisted two co‑conspirators in attempting to cash checks and successfully cashing a third check at another bank, totaling $13,710.96.

Johnson’s six co-conspirators have been charged in two related cases. Four co-conspirators were previously charged and sentenced in another case. Johnson’s co-conspirator Billy A. Guidry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and is set for sentencing on August 8, 2023.

U.S. Attorney Hurwit credited the collective efforts of a geographically-diverse set of law enforcement agencies for this successful investigation: in Idaho, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, the Boise Police Department, the Garden City Police Department, the Meridian Police Department, and the Nampa Police Department; and outside of Idaho, the Chicago Police Department, the Ellisville Police Department, the Fort Atkinson Police Department, the Gahanna Police Department, the Johnson Creek Police Department, the Montgomery Township Police Department, the Normal Police Department, the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office, the Redwood City Police Department, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the Sioux Falls Police Department, the Stockton Police Department, the Waltham Police Department and the Wellesley Police Department.

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