Trial is scheduled to begin in the case of three defendants involved in a Philadelphia-based bank-fraud and identity-theft ring. Federal prosecutors said that from August 2009 through March 2011, defendant Markcus Goode ran the ring, and co-defendants Promise Mebrtatu and Milan Douglas and numerous "check runners" defrauded at least five banks. All have pleaded not guilty to fraud, identity theft and related offenses.
Authorities said Mebrtatu was Goode's "righthand girl" and assisted him in getting photographs of the check runners for fraudulent driver's licenses, accompanied Goode when taking check runners to bank branches to cash fraudulent checks, withdraw money from customers' accounts and fill out fraudulent checks to be cashed by check runners. Douglas accompanied Goode and Mebrtatu on check-cashing trips, including one to Vermont in 2011, and provided checkbooks to Goode to use in the scheme, authorities said.