Nichlas Simpson, 28, admitted to defrauding Treasure Valley businesses and homeless youth as part of a national scheme, the Idaho U.S. attorney's office announced Friday.
According to court documents, Simpson and co-conspirators stole local business checks from postal boxes, then Simpson traveled to Boise-area homeless shelters and recruited homeless teens, telling them that they would be performing day labor for a construction business.
Instead, the conspirators created forged checks from local business accounts, payable to the homeless teens, and directed the individuals to cash the checks at local banks. Simpson and co-conspirators “kept the vast majority of the proceeds,” the U.S. attorney's office reports.
The charges stem from incidents in December 2015, and a U.S. attorney’s spokeswoman said the investigation indicates Simpson and others perpetrated the same scheme in Boise a couple of months earlier.
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Simpson, of Atlanta, Georgia, entered a guilty plea in February. In addition to the federal prison term and three years of supervised release, he must pay more than $21,000 in restitution to victims of the scheme, according to the sentence handed down at the federal courthouse in Boise.
“The court’s restitution order is an important step in achieving justice for the financial damage Simpson caused his victims,” Rafael Gonzalez, acting U.S. attorney for Idaho, said in a news release.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Boise Police Department. No other conspirators in “Operation Homeless” were charged in Idaho, a U.S. attorney’s spokeswoman said.