6 charged in bank fraud scheme targeting military members

Six south suburban men have been charged with defrauding a federally-insured bank out of $830,000 in a scheme that targeted members of the U.S. military.

Steven Vance, 22, of Calumet City; Ian Myvett, 23, of South Holland; Lamonte Powell, 24, of Calumet City; Torey Martin, 24, of Calumet City; and Jermel Sanders, 29, of Matteson, were each charged with bank fraud in a 53-count indictment returned Thursday in federal court, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

The suspects used posts on social media to get USAA Federal Savings Bank customers to give them their account information, debit card numbers and PINs, prosecutors said. The posts often featured “individuals in camouflage military uniforms holding large amounts of cash” and promised the chance to earn money quickly.

The scammers would then deposit counterfeit checks into the accounts of those customers, the U.S. attorney’s office said. They would quickly withdraw the amount that the checks had credited to the accounts before the bank discovered that the checks were counterfeit.

Each count of bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, prosecutors said. Arraignments for the six suspects have not yet been scheduled.