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Bank fraud mastermind sentenced to three years

A man convicted of orchestrating a scheme to manufacture and use fake credit cards and of stealing more than $100,000 in donation checks from World Vision was sentenced last week to about three years in prison.

Jeffrey Boyd, 32, of Pomona, Calif. was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud last Friday in U.S. District Court. Judge Thomas S. Zilly sentenced him to 37 months in prison with three years of probation. After his release, Boyd will have to pay $508,340 in restitution.

Sheryl Watkins, spokeswoman for Federal Way-based World Vision, said the Christian humanitarian aid organization has recuperated $68,000 of the money Boyd stole, but not all of it.

Despite the loss, she said, World Vision honored the stolen donations by directing money from undesignated funds.

“Donors gave with the intention of the funds going to certain projects,” she said. “We honored their intentions.”

World Vision doesn’t have an opinion about Boyd’s conviction and sentence, but she said it was sad that someone would steal from a charity.

“They’re stealing from hungry children and needy families,” she said.

World Vision provides humanitarian relief in about 100 countries worldwide, most recently in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, where a volcano erupted and destroyed half of the village.

As the mastermind behind the fraud ring, Boyd recruited tellers to process cash advances on counterfeit credit cards, according to court documents. He also recruited people to pass the phony credit cards to the participating tellers.

Boyd was arrested last year after FBI agents were tipped by “a teller with a conscience” to fraudulent credit card activity at a Puget Sound bank, according to Jeff Coopersmith, of the U.S. Attorneys Office in Seattle.

Agents worked with bank personnel and other tellers to identify several tellers who processed an unusual number of high cash advances. The same tellers were processing fraudulent advances in the $6,000 to $7,000 range, Coopersmith said.

FBI agents narrowed in on a person called “Jeremy,” an alias used by Boyd, whom the tellers called for direction and information. They caught Boyd in a sting operation involving a drop of phony credit cards.

Four tellers have pleaded guilty to bank fraud for processing the fraudulent transactions. A fifth teller is scheduled to plead guilty to bank fraud Friday.

A sixth person pleaded guilty for her participation as a passer.

Carlos Carmillio Niz, 32, of Tacoma, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his role in manufacturing and supplying the credit cards. He was sentenced Jan. 11 to 30 months in prison and three years of probation.

Boyd’s brother, Terrence Michele Boyd, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his participation in the scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Zilly on Feb. 22.

Members of the operation stole more than $500,000.

After his arrest in California, Jeffrey Boyd admitted to stealing more than 2,300 checks, accounting for more than $100,000 in donations, while he worked in the mail room at World Vision.

Watkins said Boyd was employed as a temp worker to help with the volume of donations the organization received over the holidays.

World Vision changed its temporary employment policies after the thefts. Now, any temp workers who have access to money have to be bonded.

Watkins said thefts like this are unusual. “It’s a rare occurrence,” she said. “It’s regrettable.”

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