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 


overseas.

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.

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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.


 


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