CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Federal prosecutors say seven members and associates of a North Carolina hip-hop group have been indicted for their part in a $1.2 million bank and identity theft fraud scheme.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Wednesday that members of the group known as the “FreeBandz Gang” defrauded banks through a check-cashing scheme involving worthless checks.

According to the indictment, the conspirators deposited fake or stolen checks into straw bank accounts, then withdrew money before the banks cleared the checks. In some instances, the conspirators paid people to open new bank accounts or to let the conspirators use their existing accounts and PIN numbers to carry out the fraud.

Prosecutors also say members of the group used the internet to obtain personal information to create fake IDs.