Centralia man charged in National Money Mule Initiative

Centralia man charged in National Money Mule Initiative

BENTON, IL — A 62-year-old Centralia man is one of three people charged in the Southern District of Illinois during the past 18 months as part of the National Money Initiative. Danny Vaughn was indicted on 15 federal counts in June 2020. They include multiple counts of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud as well as a single count of aggravated identity theft by having possession of a credit card in another person’s name.

The US Department of Justice describes money mules as individuals who are recruited by national and international fraud schemes to help with the laundering of fraudulent proceeds or transport of goods purchased with fraudulent proceeds. The individuals are usually recruited over the internet, through dating websites, job recruiting, advertisements, or other types of internet solicitations. The money mules are then asked to help move money and goods from the victims to the fraudsters, who are oftentimes located overseas. The US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Illinois says sometimes the money mules are themselves innocent victims who do not realize that they are assisting with criminal activity. Other times, however, the money mules come to realize that what they are doing is wrong or illegal. When that happens, the money mules become knowing participants in the fraud schemes they are assisting and are subject to prosecution. The attorney’s office says that in the past 18 months it has initiated prosecutions of several money mules who have either operated from, or targeted victims located in southern Illinois.

The other two charges in the Southern District of Illinois are 32-year-old Jaykumar Patel of Tampa, Florida and 49-year-old Talfanita Cobb of East St. Louis. If you have witnessed any type of suspicious activity, please report it to law enforcement.

Vaughn is next scheduled to appear in federal court in January for a status hearing on a mental fitness evaluation.

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