2021 | Courts

Germantown man pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud

He faces up to 30 years in prison

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A Germantown man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to conspiring with others to make fraudulent check deposits and share other people’s bank account information, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Chesterfield Stewart V, 22, worked with others to “recruit” people whose bank accounts they would use to make the deposits, according to a press release.

The conspirators would share the bank account information of the recruits with each other, and Stewart would deposit counterfeit checks, along with another conspirator, into a recruit’s bank account, according to the press release.

After the checks were deposited, the conspirators withdrew the money from the recruits’ accounts before each financial institution could detect the fraud.

The fraud occurred between February and December 2020, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and resulted in a collective loss to the institutions of between $250,000 and $550,000.

On March 12, 2020, one of the conspirators deposited a counterfeit check for more than $73,000 into the account of a recruit known as “individual 1,” according to the press release. Two days later, “Individual 1” along with Stewart and two other conspirators went to three different financial institutions, and the recruit got three cash advances worth $10,000, $10,000 and $5,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s office did not identify others who are accused of being involved.

On March 18, 2020, conspirators gave Stewart the bank account information of a recruit known as “individual 2.” The conspirators then deposited a $15,000 counterfeit check into the recruit’s bank account.

That day, Stewart, three other conspirators and “individual 2” went to a financial institution in Rockville and the recruit withdraw $1,500 from their account at the direction of the conspirators, according to the press release. One of the conspirators also drew $300 from the account.

On March 19, 2020, conspirators made $1,450 worth of transfers into a co-conspirator’s mobile banking account and transferred another $500 to “another individual,” according to the press release.

Stewart was indicted in July on a bank fraud conspiracy charge, according to court records. He will be sentenced on June 8, 2022, and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Stewart must also pay more than $28,000 in restitution as part of his plea agreement, according to the press release.

Stewart’s attorneys, Michael Lawlor and Nicholas Madiou, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com