Press Release from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois

FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – In conjunction with a press release issued today by the Department of 

Justice regarding the Fourth Annual Money Mule Initiative, the United States Attorney’s Office for 

the Southern District of Illinois announced its participation in the national effort to combat 

money mule activities.

Money mules are individuals who are recruited by national and international fraud schemes to help 

with the laundering of fraud proceeds, or transport goods purchased with fraud proceeds.   These 

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 


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 and/or illegal.   When this happens, the money mules become knowing 

participants in the fraud schemes they are assisting and are subject to prosecution.

In the past 18 months, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois 

has initiated prosecutions of several money mules who have either operated from, or targeted 

victims located  in,  southern  Illinois.    The  individuals  charged  include:    (1)  Danny  

Vaughn,  62,  of Centralia, Illinois.   Vaughn is charged with purchasing goods, such as computers 

and cell phones, with stolen credit card numbers, and then shipping those goods to overseas 

addresses, including Malaysia; (2) Jaykumar Patel, 32, of Tampa, Florida.   Patel is charged with 

receiving cash from fraud victims, including victims located in southern Illinois, and transporting 

that cash to other participants in the fraud scheme; and (3) Talfanita Cobb, 49, of East St. Louis, 

Illinois.   Cobb is charged with receiving fraudulently obtained Unemployment Insurance debit 

cards, withdrawing funds from the cards, and transferring the funds to other members of the fraud scheme via Bitcoin.

Related News:
Two black men have NJ robbery convictions overturned citing racial bias

Members  of  the  public  are  reminded  to  be  careful  of  individuals  they  meet  online.    

If  those individuals ask you to receive or transfer funds or goods, purchase gift cards, or engage 

in any type of suspicious activity, please report this activity to law enforcement.


Victim Witness Assistance

Click here for information in multiple victim cases.


Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.


Learn More

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.


Learn More

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.


Learn More