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Union County Businessman Sentenced to 5 Years for Operating Illegal Check Cashing Scheme

Union County

By: Richard L. Smith 

Union County resident Fernando Q. Martins, 44, has been sentenced to a five-year prison term for running an unlicensed check-cashing business.AdThe sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.

Martins, hailing from Union Township, New Jersey, had earlier admitted guilt to the charge of operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, a plea acknowledged by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton.

The court proceedings revealed that between 2015 and June 19, 2019, Martins managed Community Check Cashing in Newark without any legal authorization, license, or registration from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

This illegal operation involved cashing checks for clients in both New Jersey and New York, specifically targeting checks made out to shell companies.

This practice effectively concealed the identities of the individuals receiving the funds.AdIn his plea agreement, Martins acknowledged that the total amount involved in these transactions ranged between $250 million and $550 million.

Alongside the prison sentence, Judge Wigenton imposed a three-year supervised release and a substantial $50,000 fine on Martins.

Furthermore, he is required to forfeit a sum of $765,185.

This case highlights the rigorous efforts of federal authorities to clamp down on financial crimes and unlicensed financial operations.