FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2013
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Camden man was sentenced today to 135 months in prison for 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, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ibn Muhammad, 35, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle to an information charging him with one count of bank fraud and one count of theft of mail. Judge Simandle imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Muhammad and others stole checks from curbside U.S. mailboxes in business industrial parks in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties in New Jersey. Muhammad and his conspirators (including Michael A. Ingalls Jr., 35, of Camden) would then recruit a conspirator to cash the stolen checks. Once they identified a person to cash the check, Muhammad and Ingalls 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. Muhammad, Ingalls and the check casher would then travel to a bank where the check casher would cash the check.
Muhammad, Ingalls 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 pleaded guilty May 23, 2013, before Judge Simandle to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and possession of stolen mail. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 5, 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.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Simandle sentenced Muhammad to five years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a hearing on Sept. 16, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Philadelphia Division, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Jean Wright, and troopers from the N.J., State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes, for the investigation leading to today's sentence.
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: Lisa Evans Lewis Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Camden