BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A 26-year-old Bridgeport man pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of mail fraud in connection with a scheme that involved using stolen checks to buy cars, motorcycles and ATVs.
Eric Watkins appeared before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven, said Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Watkins was involved in a scheme with his cousin, Dayquan Jackson, also known as “Quan” and “DaeDae.” Jackson and others stole mail from residences in Fairfield County throughout 2013 and 2014 to obtain blank checks or credit card convenience checks.”
Jackson and others then used some of the stolen checks to purchase cars, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles listed for sale on the Internet from victims in surrounding states. Some of the stolen checks also were provided to “runners,” who deposited the checks into their bank accounts. Jackson and others then withdrew the funds from the accounts.
In December 2013, Watkins sent via FedEx a fraudulent check stolen from the mail of a Connecticut victim to buy an ATV from an unsuspecting individual in New Jersey who had posted the item for sale on Craigslist.
Watkins faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when senteced Feb. 19.
Watkins was arrested on Aug. 22, and currently is released on bond awaiting sentencing.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Connecticut Financial Fraud Task Force and the Greenwich, Fairfield, Wilton and Bridgeport Police Departments, as well as law enforcement in New Hampshire.
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