The first of 12 defendants charged in a stolen mail scheme has admitted responsibility for conspiring to launder money in connection with fraudulently deposited checks, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Federal officials said Hans Pierre, 33, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of money laundering conspiracy.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From January 2018 through October 2020, Pierre conspired to launder money obtained from bank fraud.
Pierre and his conspirators obtained checks written on bank accounts belonging to residents in the Newark area by stealing mail containing the checks from U.S. Post Office collection boxes. The conspirators altered the stolen checks, so they appeared to be written payable to a different recipient and for a more significant amount.
Pierre and other conspirators then deposited the checks into other bank accounts and then transferred the money to each other using web-based money transfer applications.
The count of money laundering conspiracy carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greatest.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 21, 2021.