Newark Man Admits to Wire Fraud Scheme

A Newark man today admitted his role in a phony check scheme that resulted in the theft of over $2 million in merchandise from multiple home-improvement stores throughout the country, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

According to Federal officials, Lessie Dickerson III, 35, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court to one count of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From December 2013 and through February 2017, Dickerson and others conspired to obtain merchandise or store credit from home-improvement stores in the eastern United States, including New Jersey, by purchasing items with fraudulent checks.

They entered home-improvement and other retail stores and gathered high-value items, like air conditioners or hardwood flooring. Dickerson and others then typically “purchased” the items either by a fraudulent check with a phony name but authentic account and routing numbers, or by pretending to be an authorized signatory on a store credit account that Dickerson and others had previously opened with a phony check, officials said.

During some of the transactions, reports say that Dickerson and others displayed fake driver’s licenses that had been created by one of the conspirators, which either duplicated the phony name imprinted on the fraudulent check they presented for payment or matched the name of an authorized signatory on a store credit account that they had previously opened.

Dickerson and others allegedly stole over $2 million in merchandise from various retailers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.

The count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum potential of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 16, 2019.