NICB agents assisted the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in an international bank fraud case with direct ties to the Mid-Atlantic United States.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, a Nigeran-based organization was involved in a massive bank fraud scheme that affected parties across several states between June 2016 and March 2020. The press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, indicates, "Members of the group stole numerous business checks from the United States mail, altered the payee on the checks to a fraudulent name and deposited the checks in bank accounts that had been opened with forged foreign passport documents and fraudulent U.S. visas that matched the names on the stolen checks.”
According to investigators, the organization is responsible for using more than 400 fraudulent accounts to defraud banks. After a large deposit, individuals would quickly withdraw funds using ATMs or money orders that matched the fraudulent account. The members would also purchase vehicles from salvage companies and export them to countries in Africa. These vehicles were sold at higher market value in order to launder the funds.
The United States Postal Service requested assistance from the National Insurance Crime Bureau in this investigation. Special Agents Jon Rumpf and Greg Wolfe were tasked with researching and locating the individuals and vehicles that were connected to the investigation. NICB’s Agents were able to identify the accused, their possible associates, the vehicles in question, and the myriad of questionable insurance claims that surrounded the reported losses.
Eleven defendants were arrested, processed, charged, and incarcerated awaiting sentencing for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud under Federal Code 18 U.S.C. & 1349. The maximum penalty for bank account conspiracy is 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.