A Covington mother and daughter have been indicted by a Newton County grand jury on racketeering charges. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced the indictments Wednesday.
"Our office is committed to stopping criminals who perpetrate identity theft and financial fraud and will continue to hold them accountable for their actions," said Carr. "I applaud our Consumer Protection Unit and Special Prosecutions Unit for their joint efforts in investigating and prosecuting these cases."
Tiara Dameron and her mother, Tieresa Mitchell, both of Covington, were indicted for their alleged roles in a fraud scheme involving hundreds of fraudulent Discover bank accounts. Both were indicted on one count of racketeering (R.I.C.O.), with theft and identity fraud as the predicate acts under the R.I.C.O. statute.
The investigation by criminal investigators from the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit revealed that between November 2014 and June 2015 the suspects applied online for hundreds of fraudulent Discover bank accounts using variations of their names and other names. The Social Security numbers used in support of the Discover accounts did not belong to the suspects, according to the Attorney General's Office.
The Attorney General's Office alleges that at least 65 of the Discover accounts were linked with accounts from other banks (Bancorp Bank, MetaBank and Wells Fargo, among others) belonging to Dameron and Mitchell. This allowed the suspects to deposit counterfeit checks into the Discover accounts and transfer the money to the linked bank accounts before the checks were returned for non-sufficient funds.
Assistant Attorney General Taylor Johnston from the Office of the Attorney General's Special Prosecutions Unit presented the case to the Newton County grand jury on July 6. The case was investigated by Calvin Thomas, a criminal investigator with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit, and will be prosecuted by Sandra J. Bailey, assistant attorney general with the Special Prosecutions Unit.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.