East St. Louis, Ill. – Mary M. Thornhill, 36, of Knoxville, TN, was sentenced on Wednesday, August
17th, to 34 months in prison for her involvement in a bank fraud scheme that targeted female
victims in Southern Illinois.
In July 2021, Thornhill conspired with others to cash stolen checks and fraudulently obtain funds
from financial institutions using stolen IDs—including driver’s licenses—belonging to real
individuals living in Southern Illinois. The group targeted banks located in the Metro East,
including those in Glen Carbon and Wood River.
At the time of her guilty plea, Thornhill admitted that members of the conspiracy broke into
vehicles parked in public places throughout Southern Illinois to steal valuables left in those
vehicles, including purses and wallets containing IDs and checkbooks. After the thefts, members of
the organization wrote checks from the stolen checkbooks made payable to other persons from whom
the group had stolen identities.
Thornhill and her co-defendant, Delvin Mills, attempted to cash checks at local banks using the
furthest lane of each bank’s drive-up window to avoid detection by the tellers. The “Felony Lane
Gang” is a term used by law enforcement to describe individuals who use this particular tactic to
defraud banks. Thornhill posed as the female victims and wore wigs or otherwise disguised herself
to look more like the photos on the stolen IDs.
Thornhill admitted that on July 19, 2021, she and Mills went to Regions Bank in Glen Carbon,
Illinois, and successfully cashed a check made payable to a person whose identity had been stolen.
Thornhill and Mills were arrested by officers with the Glen Carbon Police Department within minutes
of leaving Regions.
“This prosecution and well-deserved sentence is another example of this office’s commitment to
holding people who steal identities and commit related crimes accountable,” said United States
Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “We understand that identity theft has serious consequences for
victims and they deserve the full support of the criminal justice system. I thank all of the
federal and local law enforcement agencies involved for their time and effort investigating this
In addition to the prison sentence, the court ordered Thornhill to pay restitution to her victims,
a $200 fine, and spend three years on supervised release.
Thornhill’s co-conspirator, Delvin Mills, was sentenced on July 20, 2022, to 42 months in prison
for his role in the conspiracy. Prior to arriving in Southern Illinois, Mills pleaded guilty to
similar charges in the District of Oregon. On July 14, 2022, Mills was sentenced in that district
to 55 months in prison. According to the Judgment entered in the Southern District of Illinois,
Mills’ two federal sentences will run consecutively—for a total of 97 months in prison.
The investigation was conducted by local law enforcement agencies, including the Glen Carbon,
Clinton County, Germantown, Belleville, New Baden, Salem, O’Fallon (IL), Kirkwood, and St. Louis
County Police Departments, along with the United States Secret Service, Fairview Heights Domicile
Office of the Springfield Resident Office.
Assistant United States Attorney Zoe J. Gross prosecuted the case.