HOUSTON (Covering Fort Bend News) - Three people from Missouri City and one from Houston are headed to prison in connection with a $1.3 million check counterfeiting scheme.
A federal jury convicted Harold Chaney, 49, of Missouri City, Oct. 3, 2019, following a three-day trial and approximately four hours of deliberation. He was sentenced Wednesday. Also sentenced were Charmine Godine, 46, and Marcus McNeal, 40, both of Missouri City, along with Frank Chaney, 55, of Houston, who had all previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner ordered Harold Chaney, one of the leaders, to serve a 235-month sentence (nearly 20 years). The other leader – Godine - received a 20 year sentence, while Frank Chaney and McNeal received respective terms of 85 (7 years) and 160 months (13 years). All will also serve three years of supervised release following their sentences.
At the hearing, the court heard evidence that showed the group was also responsible for attempting to steal more than $6 million in merchandise.
Harold Chaney and Godine headed the group who purchased expensive goods from retail stores using a sophisticated counterfeiting scheme.
McNeal provided stolen checking account information, which he obtained as a courier for a legitimate business. Harold Chaney and Godine used the stolen account information and stolen identities to create counterfeit checks using a special computer program and special printer paper.
Other members of the group, such as Frank Chaney, used the counterfeit checks to purchase computers, appliances and construction materials at retail stores. The group then sold the items to customers on the black market.
Authorities also found them with hundreds of stolen identifications, which they used to establish criminal identities.
Harold Chaney, Frank Chaney and McNeal will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Secret Service, Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation as part of the Houston Area Fraud Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim McAlister is prosecuting the case.