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Published: Saturday, 1/24/2004

Ugandan brothers convicted of bank fraud

Two Lima, Ohio, men were found guilty yesterday in a U.S. District Court jury trial on a variety of bank and mail fraud counts.

George T. Katuramu, 42, was convicted on 9 of the 10 counts he faced, including conspiracy, bank fraud, mail fraud, and counterfeiting.

Twine B. Katuramu, 29, George s brother, was convicted on four of the five counts he faced, including conspiracy, bank fraud, and mail fraud.

Thomas Karol, an assistant U.S. attorney, said the men, immigrants from Uganda, attempted to defraud several banks by sending letters purported to be from Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., the American Chemical Society, and the Canadian Province of New Brunswick, requesting money transfers.

In one instance, the men tried to get as much as $475,000 in U.S. funds transferred and, in another, they requested as much as $850,000 in Canadian money.

George Katuramu also was convicted of altering international money orders. Mr. Karol said that George Katuramu had 14 international money orders in which the amounts were altered for a total of about $200,000. The checks were deposited at Lima banks, and about $80,000 was withdrawn before the banks caught on.

Twine Katuramu also was convicted of forging a signature on an $8,665 check intended for the Rombo Girls Boarding School in Kenya.

The various crimes were committed between September, 2000, and November, 2002, according to the FBI.

Judge David Katz presided over the trial, which lasted about a week. The jury deliberated for about two hours. Judge Katz has not set a sentencing date. Mr. Karol said the length of the men s sentences will depend on a variety of factors, and that a presentence report must be completed.

He said it s likely the men will be deported after serving their prison sentences.

“I would hope [the Immigration and Naturalization Service] would not keep people in this country who are not from America who commit crimes like these,” Mr. Karol said.



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