An Atlanta man who traveled to Kansas City as part of a nationwide scheme to cash millions of dollars in counterfeit checks was sentenced Monday to 12 years in federal prison.
Marion Anthony Norwood, 47, also was ordered to make restitution of more than $200,000.
The case involved members of a criminal gang from the Atlanta area who traveled around the country, often employing homeless people to cash counterfeit business checks.
According to testimony at Norwood’s federal trial in Kansas City, conspirators broke into mailboxes outside business and industrial parks to look for mail containing checks made out to employees or vendors.
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They duplicated the checks and added names of homeless people they recruited as payees. Those people cashed the checks at banks. They usually kept about 10 percent of the money and turned over the rest to those who recruited them.
Federal prosecutors said more than $400,000 in counterfeit checks were passed in the Kansas City area during 2012 and 2013. Across the country, conspirators passed more than $8 million in counterfeit checks.
A federal jury found Norwood guilty last year of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Three other Atlanta men also were prosecuted in Kansas City. Gary Merritt, 56, and Marcus Bryant, 33, were each sentenced to five years. Anthony Bernard Lowe, 53, received a sentence of four years and nine months.
The nationwide investigation began in 2011 after an Olathe convenience store found stolen mail that had been dumped in a trash container.
In all, about 60 people involved in the scheme were prosecuted across the country.