A Charlotte rap group is facing a slew of serious charges after reportedly running a $1.2 million bank and identity theft fraud scheme.
Freebandz Gang members James Murray Willingham Jr., 23, Damonte Withers, 27, Deandre Howze, 23, Jeffrey Monteith, 22, Quadarius Thomas, 23, Laerek WIlliams, 25, and Nemiah Davis, 25, all of Charlotte have been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Withers and Thomas have also been charged with firearm-related offenses, reported The Charlotte Observer.
According to the indictment obtained The Charlotte Observer, the group is accused of depositing fake and stolen checks into “straw bank accounts” and withdrawing the money before the checks cleared. The rap group is also accused of paying people to open new bank accounts or letting them use their existing accounts to carry out fraud. Some members were also charged with stealing ATM cards and PINs to access various bank accounts.
The scheme reportedly ran from February 2014 until three months ago and has caused at least $235,000 in losses to financial institutions.
The 46-count indictment revealed that the group “raised their profile” by uploading music videos and images to YouTube and Facebook of them flaunting guns, money, jewelry and cars.
As of Friday (Dec. 22) all suspects except Monteith and Thomas have been apprehended by authorities.
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