On Monday, 48 people were charged with a bank fraud scheme that netted those involved more than $570,000. Most of the money was withdrawn at casinos in Atlantic City.
According to New Jersey Attorney General Robert Lougy, on Monday, the 48 individuals were indicted and charged with racketeering in connection with a scheme to fraud a bank. Allegedly, numerous defendants impersonated individuals that held legitimate business bank accounts in order to steal more than $570,000, withdrawing the majority of the money from Atlantic City casinos, as reported by the Press of Atlantic City.
Lougy said in a statement, that business accounts at JP Morgan Chase Bank were targeted by 48 individuals comprised mostly of New York residents, who allegedly stole the money from 27 business accounts at the bank in two schemes, which were carried out between February 2011 and August 2012. The investigation was initiated after bank investigators noticed that funds were being withdrawn by cash advances at Atlantic City casinos and wire transfer.
Lougy said that in the first scheme, ringleaders Alexandria Smith, 29, of Brooklyn, New York and Andrew Henry, 40, of Bayside, New York, recruited an individual to open a bogus business account with JP Morgan Chase Bank. They referred to this person as “a body,” who would use his or her legitimate name to open the account, which was opened under a fake business name. Another person would then be added as a joint owner of the new bogus account. That person was referred to as the “add-on” who created a link between the legitimate bank account and the fake one.
Once the accounts were successfully linked, the funds were transferred by the leaders from the legitimate account to the fake one, according to Lougy. The funds were then withdrawn from the bogus account by wiring them to Atlantic City casinos to be picked up with credit cards. With the exception of more debit and credit cards used in the process, the second scheme was similar, Lougy said.
He said, “These defendants allegedly carried out two massive identity theft schemes, but they miscalculated in thinking they could hide their large cash withdrawals at the casinos, where such transactions are commonplace,” and that, “Once the bank detected suspicious account activity in Atlantic City, members of the State Police and Division of Criminal Justice who are assigned to the casinos skillfully uncovered these elaborate schemes and charged the perpetrators.”
All 48 individuals could face 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted on the racketeering charge.