FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2013
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Camden man today admitted his role in a scheme in which he and others stole business checks from the U.S. Mail in New Jersey and Connecticut, altered them, and cashed them using a series of conspirators, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Michael A. Ingalls, Jr., 35, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle in Camden federal court to an Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of possession of stolen mail.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ingalls and others stole checks from curbside U.S. mailboxes in business industrial parks in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties in New Jersey. Ingalls and his co-conspirators (including Ibn Muhammad, 35, of Camden) would then recruit a conspirator to cash the stolen checks. Once they identified a person to cash the check, Ingalls and Muhammad would then alter the stolen checks so that the name of the “payee” of the check would match the name of the recruited check casher. Ingalls, Muhammad and the check casher would then travel to a bank where the check casher would cash the check.
Ingalls, Muhammad and their conspirators cashed or attempted to cash more than 100 stolen and altered business checks worth more than $600,000. The scheme resulted in a total loss of more than $300,000 to the victim banks.
Ingalls is also charged with possession of mail stolen from business industrial parks in Brookfield, Conn. The stolen mail was found after Ingalls was stopped for speeding by the N.J. State Police in Middlesex County while headed southbound on the N.J. Turnpike in the early morning hours of Feb. 27, 2011.
On the count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, Ingalls faces a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense. On the count of possession of stolen mail, Ingalls faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 5, 2013.
Muhammad pleaded guilty Dec. 3, 2012, before Judge Simandle to bank fraud and theft of mail. He is currently in custody and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17, 2013. One of Ingalls’ and Muhammad’s conspirators, Andrew Fortune, 62, of Camden, was arrested March 11, 2013, on a criminal complaint and charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his role in the fraudulent scheme. His case is pending.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Karen V. Higgins, and troopers from the N.J., State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes, for the investigation leading to today's guilty plea.
The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew T. Smith and Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense counsel: Richard Sparaco Esq., Cherry Hill, N.J.