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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for ID Theft and Attempting to Steal Seized Cars from the FBI

Moody sought to obstruct the investigation into his activities by using faked court documents.

Quinten Giovanni Moody, aka Christano Rossi, 39, of Dublin, was sentenced today to seven years in prison for aggravated identity theft, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to distribute marijuana, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

“This defendant committed felonies involving drugs and identity theft, then doubled down by obstructing justice,” said U.S. Attorney Talbert. “After making hundreds of thousands of dollars distributing marijuana across the country and fraudulently claiming unemployment insurance benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, he used phony court documents in a failed attempt to get the FBI to release property seized during the federal investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to hold accountable those who engage in such brazen violations of federal criminal law.”

According to court documents, between June 2017 and June 2022, Moody, co-defendant Myra Boleche Minks, 46, formerly of Roseville, and other co‑conspirators generated hundreds of thousands of dollars by transporting marijuana from California to Georgia, Nevada, Texas, and other locations. Moody and others bought marijuana in California and then transported the marijuana to distributors in other states via couriers and baggage traveling on commercial airplanes and commercial shipping services. Once the marijuana was sold, Moody and others caused the proceeds of the marijuana sales to be returned to them in California by using couriers to travel on commercial airline flights carrying cash, using shipping services to ship cash, and causing others at their direction to deposit cash into bank accounts.

Moody and others also committed unemployment insurance fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in August 2020, Moody, Minks, and co-defendant Jessica Tang, 49, of Sacramento, participated in a scheme to submit fraudulent claims of unemployment benefits through the California Employment Development Department (EDD). As part of this scheme, on Sept. 4, 2020, Moody used a Bank of America debit card in the name of an identity theft victim to make purchases at a Cartier store and Louis Vuitton store in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Quinten Moody engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in the names of identity theft victims in order to purchase luxury jewelry and further his criminal enterprise. Today’s sentencing demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to holding perpetrators of UI fraud accountable for their actions. We commend the FBI and the Project Safe Neighborhoods program for leading this joint investigation,” said Quentin Heiden, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, Western Region.

Moody sought to obstruct the investigation into his activities by using faked court documents. As part of the investigation, the United States applied for seizure warrants for a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro and a 1956 Chevrolet pickup that Moody purchased with the proceeds of his criminal activities. On April 15, 2022, personnel from the FBI seized the two vehicles in Georgia pursuant to the seizure warrants issued in the Eastern District of California. The vehicles were transported to the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office for storage. On May 8, 2022, at approximately 9:30 p.m., a flatbed truck from towing company arrived at the FBI’s Atlanta field office. The tow truck driver informed FBI security personnel that he had been directed to retrieve the vehicles from FBI’s custody. The tow truck driver gave FBI security personnel documents, including a document purporting to be an order issued by the Honorable John K. Larkins III, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Georgia. The documents purported to order the U.S. Marshal and the FBI to release the vehicles. The documents, however, were fraudulent and had been created by Moody and Minks for the purpose of fraudulently obtaining custody of the two seized vehicles.

On May 21, 2022, a tow truck from a different towing company arrived at the FBI’s Atlanta field office. Again, the driver presented a fake federal court order purporting to authorize the release of the seized vehicles. The fraudulent federal court documents had been altered from the previous attempt. FBI personnel did not release the vehicles. Shortly before the arrival of the tow truck, a co-conspirator called personnel at the FBI’s Atlanta field office and pretended to be an FBI Special Agent. While in character, the co-conspirator attempted to contact the employees assigned to the gate outside of the field office to facilitate the tow truck gaining access to the FBI property.

Charges are pending against Minks and Tang. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Highway Patrol, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the Placer County Probation Department, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, the Colma Police Department, the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Police Department, the Roseville Police Department, the San Francisco Police Department, the Atlanta Police Department, the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, and the California Employment Development Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Lee and Sam Stefanki are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Read more at the Justice Department

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