Three Columbia residents indicted for bank fraud, mail theft

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Three Columbia, Mo., residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a bank fraud conspiracy that used identity documents stolen from the mail to open fraudulent bank accounts.

Chandelle Eugene Marteen, 39, Jason Lee Patillo, 49, and Candace Anne Cook, 41, were charged in a 22-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City, Mo., on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The indictment was unsealed and made public following the arrests of all three defendants.

The federal indictment alleges that Marteen, Patillo, and Cook participated in a bank fraud conspiracy from July 2021 to March 2023. Marteen and Cook allegedly stole mail from collection boxes and residences, from which they obtained personal and business checks. They forged signatures and altered the checks.

Marteen obtained personal identification documents belonging to others, the indictment says, and used them to cash or deposit stolen and fraudulent checks. He opened bank accounts using stolen identity documents, deposited stolen and fraudulent checks into the accounts and withdrew money from the accounts. Patillo allegedly opened a bank account at Marteen’s instruction and gave him the debit card and account information, which enabled him to deposit stolen, fraudulent checks and withdraw money from the account using cash withdrawals at ATMs and electronic transfers.

In addition to the conspiracy, Marteen is charged with nine counts of bank fraud, two counts of mail theft, two counts of possessing stolen mail, and seven counts of aggravated identity theft.

Cook is also charged with one count of possessing stolen mail.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.