Semmes man who admitted to two separate bank fraud schemes gets 8½ years in prison

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 12:02 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A federal judge sentenced a Semmes man to 8½ prison in a pair of fraud cases totaling more than a half-million dollars.

Arrington Jaylun Gardner pleaded guilty in December to bank fraud conspiracy, admitting that he was the ringleader of a fraudulent scheme that caused financial losses totaling hundreds of thousand of dollars to banks and credit unions.

Gardner, 22, pleaded guilty in March to bank fraud conspiracy in a separate case involving the use of stolen identity to purchase cars.

U.S. District Judge Terry Moorer sentenced Gardner to a combined 8½ years in prison for two counts in the first case and six years in the second case but allowed the defendant to serve them at the same time. After prison, Gardner will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for five years. The judge also ordered him to pay the defrauded financial institutions a total of $201,293.

The first indictment named Gardner and 11 other defendants. Gardner took responsibility for financial losses of between $250,000 and $550,000 incurred by banks and credit unions during a period from at least December 2021 until May 2022.

Gardner admitted that he and others operated in Alabama, as well as Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. They would deposit counterfeit and forged checks at ATMs and then make unlawful withdrawals.

Gardner’s written plea agreement includes several images taken from surveillance cameras showing him making transactions at post offices and bank automated teller machines. It also includes pictures of fake driver’s licenses and stolen checks that he used as part of the scheme.

Federal agents raided Gardner’s apartment and seized dozens of counterfeit and stolen checks, several stolen and forged driver’s licenses – some of which had his face on them – and blank check stock paper and printers. He also had a money-counting machine and $2,609.50 in cash.

In the second case, Gardner admitted that he used stolen identification documents to make a fake New Jersey driver’s license with his photograph and the identity information of a man in Philadelphia. The victim reported to Philadelphia police last year that he had been the victim of identity theft after he received a Geico auto insurance policy in his name.

According to a written plea agreement, Gardner used the fraudulent ID to finance the purchase of a BMW and an Audi A5 Sportback from Mitsubishi Mobile. He admitted that he put down $5,000 in cash as a down payment on the Audi in May 2022 and used a loan from Bank of America to finance the rest of the $49,742 purchase. He used a fraudulently obtained loan from Capital One the following day to finance the $30,707 purchase of the BMW, according to the plea document.

All 12 defendants have pleaded guilty in the larger bank fraud case. Nine of the others already have been sentenced, with punishment range to one day in lockup to three years in prison.

In the case involving fraudulently purchased vehicles, three co-defendants have pleaded guilty, with two remaining to be sentenced.