Accountant and real estate developer pleads guilty to orchestrating $1.5 million check kiting scheme
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2011
TRENTON, N.J. – An accountant and part-time real estate developer pleaded guilty today for directing a long-running check kiting scheme that defrauded two banks out of a total of approximately $1.5 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Amro Badran, 54, of New Brunswick, N.J., pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with one count of bank fraud. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court.
According to the Information to which Badran pleaded guilty and statements made in court:
During the period of his fraudulent conduct, Badran opened and maintained approximately 15 different bank accounts at two banks: New Millennium Bank and Brunswick Bank & Trust.
Badran engaged in what is known as a “check kiting” scheme – creating artificial balances in his bank accounts by causing checks to be written against the accounts knowing that the money was not there to cover them. Badran would then deposit the checks into other accounts he controlled to artificially inflate the balances of those accounts.
Badran admitted that he took the proceeds of the fraudulent checks to pay personal and business expenses and to transfer money to other accounts that he controlled. In total, Badran deposited in excess of $25 million in bad checks written against his various bank accounts. When the banks discovered the fraud, they returned the checks with insufficient funds and charged the accounts – collapsing the check kite – resulting in the accounts being overdrawn and sustaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
The bank fraud charge to which Badran pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for March 23, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Inspector General Jon T. Rymer and Special Agent in Charge Derek Evans, with the investigation which led to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
Defense counsel: Steven Altman Esq., New Brunswick