Georgia inmate indicted for allegedly stealing $11 million from his prison cell

jail cell
Photo credit: / Ana Aguirre Perez

Atlanta native Arthur Cofield, who is a prison inmate at a correctional facility in Buttts County, Georgia, has been indicted on bank fraud and money laundering charges. Cofield, who is currently serving a 14-year sentence for armed robbery, also is under indictment for attempted murder.

“Some prisoners aren’t interested in rehabilitation or paying their debt to society,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said in an official statement from the Department of Justice about the indictment and impending case. “The allure of millions of dollars in gold, coupled with contraband prison cellphones, allegedly was enough for Cofield to commit a brazen million-dollar fraud scheme from the confines of his prison cell.”

Cofield, 29, had a little help pulling off the movie-like criminal scheme. His co-conspirators, Eldridge Bennett, 63, and Eliayah Bennett, 25, also were indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering.

“This elaborate fraud scheme is truly shocking in its scope and nature,” said Tommy D. Coke, inspector in charge of the Atlanta division. “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to ensuring the U.S. Mail is not utilized as a tool in this type of fraud and to holding the responsible parties fully accountable for their actions.”

In June 2020, after obtaining various means of identification for the victim, identified only as S.K., Cofield used a contraband cellphone to open an account, managed by Charles Schwab, in the victim’s name. Later that month, Cofield opened a checking account in S.K.’s name after one of his co-conspirators texted him a driver’s license and utility bills to establish the account.

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