Akeem Kosoko and his brother, who worked as a mailman, had been stealing money from the mail for months before the Trump administration announced it would be sending $1,200 checks to every American. Kosoko, who called the stimulus funds “Trump checks,” knew that this would be a great time to cash in. The federal government, however, caught up with them when they tried to sell several Trump checks for a reported $5,000. Now, the brothers are facing charges of conspiring to steal U.S. mail and stealing government funds.
Kosoko was believed to be among several post office employees who would steal tax refunds, social security checks, and more from the U.S. postal system. The checks would then be exchanged for cash to those who had the ability to anonymously cash them.
The Anatomy of a Fraud
Stealing money from the mail system is easy. Turning that money into spendable capital is hard. In this case, the checks can be either sold for a percentage of the face value (usually 50%) or the brothers would have to pay others to deposit the checks for them and then split the money. The brothers had also stolen personal identification information from the mail for use in this and other schemes.
Prosecutors announced that they were still unraveling the fraud. Transactions have been reported all over the country. A U.S. District Attorney told the press that the scheme was so expansive that there could be dozens of others who stand to face charges for their involvement.
Kosoko is facing warrants in Georgia and weapons charges in Cook County. A prosecutor told the judge that there was no evidence Kosoko had ever held an honest job. The judge denied bail in Kosoko’s case. The prosecutor said that it was particularly “troubling” that Kosoko was stealing checks earmarked for economic relief during a natural disaster.
The brothers were busted by a confidential informant who told federal authorities that they were selling economic relief checks. Prior, however, Kosoko had been arrested on charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon when, as a passenger in another vehicle that ran through a stop sign, he was caught with the gun on his person. During the arrest, his phone was confiscated and left in an evidence locker until the FBI secured a warrant. On the phone, police found several text messages related to the scheme. The Kosokos had been advertising on Facebook.
Once the FBI had the phone, they instructed the CI to set up a sale. That will be the strength of the evidence used against the brothers in court.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you steal federal funds, you will be charged by the federal government. Instead of local police, you’ll have FBI agents and federal prosecutors trying your case. You need an attorney with the experience to handle federal prosecutions. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to learn more.