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Feds charge 8 in Michigan with bank fraud in 'Felony Lane Scheme'

When you go to your Ann Arbor bank's drive-thru and pull into the lane farthest from the teller, you're in the so-called Felony Lane. The name comes from a multi-part scheme that involves ID theft and bank fraud.

According to news reports, the Felony Lane Scheme was recently put into action in western Michigan. It resulted in the arrests of eight men and women on charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to news reports, federal law enforcement agents in Grand Rapids arrested the eight Florida residents who range in age from 21 to 38 years old.

Officials said Felony Lane Scheme involves the theft of purses from places where women are likely to leave belongings in their vehicles (parks, gyms, day care, etc.). The female members of the ring then don disguises to make them appear more like the stolen ID photos and go to bank drive-thrus, using the farthest lane from the teller (the Felony Lane).

The distance and disguises enable the women to use stolen IDs, bank cards and checks to withdraw funds.

According to officials, the recent Felony Lane scheme activity began in southeast Michigan in late January when three purses were stolen outside of a Milford gym. FBI agents looked for vehicles rented in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (a Felony Lane hotspot) and followed one to Grand Rapids.

The suspects were apparently observed buying wigs and then going to several banks and using the drive-thru. As the suspects sat in two vehicles at a fourth bank, agents approached and arrested the eight occupants.

One of the women arrested had apparently impersonated a Milford woman and been able to withdraw more than $6,000 from her accounts.

The suspects in this case face charges that could result in time behind federal prison bars.

Before talking to prosecutors who want to lock you up, those facing similar allegations should speak with a skilled attorney experienced in vigorous and effective defense.

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