Springfield Man, Robert Simon Rees, Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme

SPRINGFIELD, MO (STL.News) – A Springfield, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to a bank fraud scheme to cash stolen and counterfeit checks.

Robert Simon Rees, 39, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of bank fraud and one count of possessing stolen mail.

By pleading guilty today, Rees admitted that he engaged in a bank fraud scheme from April to July 3, 2017, to cash stolen and counterfeit checks and to use the stolen and counterfeit checks to purchase merchandise.  The amount of the financial harm attempted during the bank fraud scheme totaled approximately $19,696 to 10 or more victims.  Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Rees must pay $1,607 in restitution to the three victims who suffered actual losses.

Rees, aided and abetted by others, stole checks, letters, and documents containing the personally identifying information of individuals from the mailboxes of individuals and businesses and from vehicles and residences.  They created forged and counterfeit power of attorney documents that purported to give Rees authority to conduct financial transactions on behalf of the individuals and businesses that were payees listed on the stolen checks.  Then, at businesses including Wal-Mart and Lend Nation, Rees attempted to cash the stolen checks, or use the stolen checks to purchase merchandise.

Rees, aided and abetted by others, also created forged and counterfeit checks payable to persons other than himself, as well as counterfeit identification (including Missouri temporary drivers’ licenses) matching the payee names on the counterfeit checks.  Rees then falsely presented himself as the payee listed on the counterfeit checks, and attempted to cash the counterfeit checks, or use the counterfeit checks to purchase merchandise at businesses.

Under federal statutes, Rees is subject to a sentence of up to 35 years in federal prison without parole.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

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