ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Maryland man was sentenced today to six years in prison for aggravated identity theft and conspiring to defraud over 20 financial institutions.
According to court documents, Chea S. Yarl, 31, was the leader of a conspiracy to defraud 20 banks located throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia for at least seven years.
From 2013 through 2019, Yarl organized a card-cracking scheme in which he and at least four other individuals deposited counterfeit checks and other worthless financial instruments into hundreds of bank accounts and then quickly made cash withdrawals or purchased money orders with debit cards associated with the accounts. Yarl and his co-conspirators recruited hundreds of accountholders of different financial institutions to provide their debit cards and PINs in exchange for payment. Yarl then created counterfeit checks purportedly issued by 20 different financial institutions, which he and others acting at his direction then deposited into the accounts. These deposits fraudulently induced the targeted financial institutions to credit thousands of dollars to those accounts, which Yarl and others immediately withdrew. Between 2013 and 2019, Yarl and others deposited over 300 worthless checks and money orders totaling more than $1 million into over 200 compromised accounts and successfully withdrew at least $316,000 of the credited proceeds.
During the same period, Yarl used various other techniques to defraud individuals and companies of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In April 2019, Yarl and an unknown conspirator fraudulently accessed a retirement account belonging to a U.S. Postal Service employee and caused $108,000 to be transferred to a bank account controlled by Yarl. In November 2019, Yarl organized a business e-mail compromise scam to fraudulently induce a company to wire over $87,000 to a bank account controlled by Yarl and his co-conspirators and then successfully withdrew $60,000 of those funds.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Robert E. Bornstein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division; Peter R. Rendina, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael C. Tucker prosecuted the case.
This case was investigated by the FBI WFO's Transnational Organized Crime Task Force which is composed of FBI Agents, along with task force officers from local, state, and federal partners. This task force is charged with identifying and investigating the most egregious organized crime syndicates operating in Northern Virginia. Significant investigative assistance was provided by the USPIS and Virginia State Police.
The FBI’s Cleveland Field Office provided significant assistance to this investigation.