An Edison man was indicted on June 25 for his role in a scheme to defraud banks of more than $1 million using stolen and counterfeited checks and stolen identities.
Benjamin Rich, 37, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to information provided by Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.
Rich and two other men, Felix Alamo and Frank Ambrosio, both of Brooklyn, New York, were previously charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Rich, Alamo, and certain conspirators allegedly agreed to defraud banks across New Jersey by using the stolen personal identification information of other individuals to open fraudulent bank accounts and deposit stolen and counterfeited checks.
Rich allegedly used stolen identities, which included Social Security numbers belonging to minors, to create sham businesses.
Rich, Alamo, and others reportedly opened bank accounts for the sham businesses and deposited stolen or counterfeited checks into the accounts and attempted to withdraw or transfer the funds before the banks could detect the fraud.
Rich and his conspirators allegedly deposited approximately $1 million in fraudulently obtained checks into the fraudulent business bank accounts, resulting in at least $250,000 in losses to the various banks.
The charge of bank fraud carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and a statutory maximum fine $1 million, or twice the gain derived or loss loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a statutory minimum term of two years in prison, which must run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed on the bank fraud charge, and a statutory maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gain derived or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
Alamo previously pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on July 21.