UNITED STATES POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
JOINT AGENCY PROBE NETS ARREST OF
Rockland County, NY -- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Rockland County District Attorney announced the arrests of 22 defendants for participating in a conspiracy to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars by forging U.S. Postal Service money orders.
As outlined in the complaint, the individuals arrested devised several schemes to defraud more than a dozen banks by purchasing postal money orders in small denominations, usually $1 to $3, and altering them to larger denominations, typically from $850 to $1,000 per money order.
It is further alleged that some of the defendants visited banks in Rockland County and Bergen County, NJ, to deposit the fraudulent money orders or checks into active bank accounts, usually at ATMs. Once deposited, the individuals withdrew or attempted to withdraw funds a short time later—before the banks were aware that the money orders or checks were fraudulent.
More than $400,000 in altered money orders and bad checks were identified from 14 financial institutions in Rockland and Bergen counties, including TD Bank, Wells Fargo, Sterling National Bank (formerly Provident), First Niagara, HSBC, People's United, Bank of America, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Key Bank, M & T Bank, Trustco Bank, and American Express. Each financial institution has fully cooperated during the investigation.
Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett noted, "Postal Inspectors and our law enforcement partners will vigorously investigate, arrest, and prosecute anyone who attacks the financial integrity of the U..S Postal Service's Money Order System."
The defendants are charged with numerous counts of felony grand larceny, criminal possession of forged instruments, and criminal facilitation of bank fraud. Several defendant are allegedly members of a faction of the Bloods street gang based in Rockland County.
Inspector in Charge Bartlett thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, ICE/ESU, U.S. Marshals Service, New York State Police, Rockland County Sheriff's Department, Rockland County R.E.A.C.T. Team, Village of Spring Valley Police Department, Town of Clarkstown Police Department, Suffern Police Department, Town of Haverstraw Police Department, Town of Orangetown Police Department, and Town of Stony Point Police Department for their assistance with the case.
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