WRENTHAM — A Providence man has been charged with spearheading schemes to defraud a Wrentham-based foundation and Rhode Island businesses out of tens of thousands of dollars, authorities announced Monday.
Rachon Waite, 31, known to some as “RJ,” allegedly deposited fraudulent checks drawn on the foundation and businesses and quickly withdrew the funds before it was determined by the banks the checks were bogus, Acting Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Richard B. Myrus said in a news release.
Waite allegedly made social media solicitations seeking people willing to provide him with their debit cards and personal identifying number (PIN), and/or access to their bank accounts so he could deposit fraudulent checks as part of the scheme.
He promised to pay them for the use of account information, Myrus said.
Waite made an initial appearance in federal court Monday afternoon, charged by way of a federal criminal complaint with wire fraud, bank fraud, access device (ATM) fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
In March, the Wrentham foundation, which wasn’t named, reported to Wrentham Police two fraudulent checks totaling nearly $15,000 were drawn on the its bank account and cashed, according to court records.
Two individuals whose accounts were identified by law enforcement as allegedly used to assist in the fraud communicated with “RJ” on social media, Myrus said. They provided Waite with their debit cards and PINs in return for the promise of a portion of funds deposited into and withdrawn from their accounts, he said.
Also in March, a Bristol, R.I.-based engineering company reported to police a fraudulent check drawn on their business account in the amount of $23,754 had been cashed.
An investigation determined the check had been made out to and was deposited into a Coventry, R.I. resident’s bank account. The account holder told investigators he responded to a solicitation posted on social media by a person he came to know as “RJ,” and provided him with his debit card and PIN. The account holder agreed to let “RJ” use his account to deposit checks and withdraw funds, in return receiving a portion of the money withdrawn.
However, the holder learned his account was overdrawn by about $24,000. The next day the account was closedand the remaining funds were kept by the bank, including funds from the account holder’s paycheck. The account holder was unable to contact “RJ” again and his debit card was never returned.
A description of the person with whom the account holders from the Wrentham incident met with matched the description of the person who allegedly facilitated the fraud against the Bristol company.
Also, a Coventry woman who was said to have provided “RJ” with her debit card and PIN was allegedly paid $2,000 for the use of her banking information when “RJ” withdrew $7,000 from the woman’s account. He allegedly deposited a fraudulent foundation check for $7,417, court documents said.
And a Johnston, R.I. man who allegedly provided his ATM card and PIN to “RJ” never heard from him again. It is alleged Waite deposited a fraudulent foundation check for $7,117.40 into the Johnston man’s account and withdrew most of the funds, court records added.
Waite was released to the custody of OpenDoors RI following his appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence. OpenDoors RI, situated in Providence, serves previously incarcerated individuals and their families.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise M. Barton and was investigated by the FBI, Wrentham and Bristol police.