Alleged leader of fraud band gets bond

tflach@thestate.comMarch 24, 2014 

gavel

— Bond was set Monday at $150,000 for Courtney Walker, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla,, the alleged ringleader of a bank fraud team that authorities call the Felony Lane Gang.

Magistrate Michelle Branch-Howard, in a hearing at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, rejected prosecutors’ request that Walker, 26, be held in jail prior to trial.

Assistant 5th Circuit Solicitor Britton All described Walker as a mastermind of a loose-knit group engaging in crime sprees in the Midlands and elsewhere along the East Coast.

Gang members break into vehicles to steal checks, ATM cards and other personal identification needed to cash checks at banks, often in disguise, sheriff’s investigator Richard Stephens testified.

The nickname for the alleged team stems from its use of drive-thru windows, far from bank tellers, to avoid detection, deputies say.

Deputies arrested eight gang members last fall for allegedly stealing an estimated $60,000 by cashing fraudulent checks at local banks.

The arrests culminated a two-year investigation, Stephens said.

Victor Li, lawyer for Walker, disputed the claim that Walker heads a team taking part in the alleged activities.

Walker is “not responsible for any of those people,” Li said.

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