Charlotte Alerts

A rap group known as Free Bandz Gang made $1.5 million in a bank fraud scheme

This rap group probably should of just stuck to their day job. Several members of the well known Charlotte, NC rap group "Free Bandz Gang" were either convicted or plead guilty to various bank wire fraud crimes. The group managed to make a whopping $1.5 million from ill sought fraud proceeds.

They brought luxury cars, houses, and got top dollar bottle service at salacious strip clubs.

A leader of the group Damonte Withers, 30, of Charlotte, was sentenced to 108 months for bank fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and aggravated identity theft charges in connection to a bank and identity theft scheme. In addition to the prison term imposed, Damonte was also ordered to pay $1,068,511.87 in restitution.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and special agents from the U.S. Secret Service helped in bringing the gang down.

Damonte also known as “Tony da Boss” on social media, and his co-conspirators, were engaging in what is commonly known as a “card-cracking” scheme. The group recruited individuals to hand over their bank account ATM/debit cards and PINs in exchange for the promise of an easy pay-day.

The suspects would then deposit fraudulent or stolen checks into the bank accounts using the corresponding ATMs or mobile banking applications, triggering a credit to the account. The gang would then quickly withdraw cash from the accounts, before the banks could determine the deposited checks were worthless. In addition to the card-cracking scheme, in October 2016, Damonte and several members of the gang also executed wire fraud conspiracy in which they used victims’ stolen identities to fraudulently acquire cellular phones, tablets and other goods so they could resell them for profit.

Damonte and other members of the conspiracy obtained victims’ names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and other personal identifying information, using an Internet-based database and used that information to manufacture fake IDs, which they then used to open phone lines and complete fraudulent credit applications in the identity theft victims’ names.

Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement found Damonte to be in possession of several items used to manufacture the fictitious identification cards, and of the personal identifying information of at least 18 individuals.

Damonte admitted to causing between $550,000 and $1.5 million in losses as a result of his fraud.

The rap group was sentenced as follows: Nemiah Davis was sentenced to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Quadarius Thomas was sentenced to 65 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Jeffrey Monteith was sentenced to 58 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Deandre Howze was sentenced to 57 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

Laerek Williams was sentenced to 54 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

James Willingham was sentenced to 52 months in prison and three years of supervised release.