Eighteen people have been indicted on charges they took part in a bank fraud and identity theft scheme that raked in at least $1.4 million.
Prosecutors say the suspects deposited thousands of counterfeit checks into hundreds of bank accounts and recruited the help of crooked bank employees to acquire the victims' personal information.
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau says the case involves hundreds of customers from commercial banks in Manhattan which included JPMorgan Chase & Co. HSBC Holdings, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Wachovia.
25-year-old James Malloy of the Bronx was the master forger in the ring, according to authorities. Malloy who was already convicted on counterfeiting charges for another unrelated crime, was out on bail awaiting sentencing when he allegedly committed the new crimes.
Authorities say he apparently used magnetic ink and high-stock paper to make his own checks. Recruited bank tellers would provide the scammers with legitimate canceled checks, which police say would allow them to make the forgeries.
The alleged crimes took place between October 2007 and February 2009, prosecutors said.
The scheme came to light when the suspects forged checks on a New York City Police Department account last May. The NYPD's Property Clerk's Office notified the Special Fraud Squad, which began an investigation.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times