A Middlesex County man and two Brooklyn, New York, men were charged today with bank fraud and identity theft, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Officials report that Benjamin Rich, 40, of Edison, and Frank Ambrosio, 35, and Felix Alamo, 59, both of Brooklyn, are each charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Rich and Alamo are scheduled to appear today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III. Ambrosio remains at large.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Rich, Ambrosio, and Alamo, and others, allegedly conspired to defraud banks across New Jersey, and elsewhere, by using the personal identification information (PII) of victims to open fraudulent bank accounts in order to deposit fraudulently obtained checks.
Rich would obtain checks that were either stolen or counterfeited. He would then create sham businesses with names closely resembling those of the payees appearing on the stolen or counterfeited checks.
For example, if Rich obtained a check made payable to “ABC Corp.,” he would create a sham business called “ABC LLC.”
Rich would later provide Ambrosio, Alamo, and other conspirators, with fraudulent identification documents bearing their photographs and the victims’ PII and business opening documents in order to open the fraudulent bank accounts for the sham businesses.
The conspirators would deposit the fraudulently obtained or counterfeited checks into those fraudulent bank accounts and then withdraw the funds before anyone could detect the fraud.
The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.