Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Texas man sentenced after stealing $100,000 from smaller Montana banks

| February 9, 2024 7:00 AM

A Texas man who admitted stealing more than $100,000 from Montana banks as part of an organized group that used forged checks and stolen identities to defraud banks was sentenced recently to four years in prison.

Shanetwann Clayton Waldon, 46, of Dallas, Texas, pleaded guilty in August 2023 to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. It will be followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $103,149 restitution, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

In court documents, the government alleged that Waldon, working with several co-defendants, traveled from Texas to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming to pass fraudulent checks at smaller financial institutions. 

Waldon targeted rural areas because they were a “little ‘country’ and the bank process was slower than in Texas.” In 2022 and 2023, Waldon made at least four trips to Montana, and on 10 occasions, entered a new bank and stole thousands of dollars. Waldon presented a fake identity to evade detection by law enforcement and used forged instruments to create debts in the name of others. 

In Montana, Waldon targeted banks in Hamilton, Bozeman, Billings and Missoula. He persisted in the scheme months after his initial co-defendants had been arrested. In total, Waldon and his codefendants stole $141,822 from 30 bank branches in three states. 

Waldon’s total amount owed of $103,149 is payable to six Montana banks, including First Interstate Bank, TrailWest Bank, First Security Bank, Opportunity Bank of Montana, Farmers State Bank and Western Security Bank.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter prosecuted the case. The FBI, U.S. Secret Service, police departments in Missoula, Bozeman, Helena, Livingston, and Laurel, Montana, the Yellowstone County (Montana) Sheriff’s Office; police departments in Chubbock, Pocatello and Kemmerer, Idaho, the Bannock County (Idaho) Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Police; and police departments in Evanston and Mountain View, Wyoming, and the Teton County (Wyoming) Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.