MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A federal court in Minneapolis sentenced a 40-year-old Maplewood man Monday for taking more than $860,000 from accounts at various financial institutions, according to the Justice Department.
Judge David Doty sentenced Marcus Kwamena Benson to 12 years in prison in connection with numerous charges of bank fraud. According the department, the charges include one count of bank fraud conspiracy, nine counts of bank fraud, three counts of device fraud, 10 counts of identity theft, one count of possession of document-making implements, one count of possession of unauthorized access devices, and one count of possession of device-making equipment.
Benson was convicted in September of 2008, but he fled to Ghana using a fake passport after a four-day trial. In 2011, authorities detained Benson after he attempted to fly from Ghana to Kenya. While in Africa, authorities discovered that Benson engaged in a check-cashing scheme. The department said Benson will not be charged for fleeing his initial sentencing.
According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, a US Bank fraud inspector notified authorities after the bank received numerous fraudulent online credit card applications. A card issued to one of those applications was sent to a foreclosed St. Paul house in which Benson lived from Aug. 2003 to Feb. 2007.
Surveillance video captured Benson using the US Bank card on three separate occasions to withdraw money from an ATM.
After receiving a warrant to search Benson’s Maplewood home in 2008, authorities found computers, a scanner, and a printer, which they thought Benson used to forged documents. They also found 15 or more unauthorized credit cards and equipment used to make credit card encoders, which can be used to defraud people.
The jury found Benson stole identities on 10 occasions, the department said.