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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Middlesex County, New Jersey, Man Indicted for Using Phony Payments, False Identity Theft Claims to Obtain Funds

NEWARK, N.J. – An Old Bridge, New Jersey, man was indicted today for allegedly using phony payments and false identity theft claims to deceive credit card companies and banks into giving him funds and extending credit, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Sandy John Masselli, 56, was initially arrested in October 2017 and charged by complaint with bank and wire fraud. Today’s indictment similarly charges Masselli with three counts of bank fraud and three counts of wire fraud.    

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

From June 2014 through July 2017, Masselli engaged in three separate but related schemes to fraudulently obtain credit and funds from various credit card companies and two brokerage firms. 

In one, Masselli opened accounts with certain credit card companies, made purchases with these accounts until he had almost reached or exceeded the credit limit, and then purported to send payments from bank accounts that he knew did not have sufficient funds to cover the purchases. Before the fraudulent payments were rejected for insufficient funds, the credit card companies temporarily credited Masselli’s accounts based on those payments, providing him access to additional credit and allowing him to continue to make purchases. Masselli failed to pay these balances and the credit card companies sustained substantial losses.     

In another scheme, Masselli opened credit accounts with two credit card companies, made thousands of dollars in purchases, and then falsely represented to these credit card companies that the accounts had been opened fraudulently and used without his authorization, causing these companies to close the accounts and sustain losses.

As part of a third scheme, Masselli attempted to deposit more than $600,000 in checks from a closed account into a new brokerage account, which he then tried to use for various personal expenses. Those transfers were unsuccessful because the checks he deposited were ultimately returned as unpaid.     

The bank fraud counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The wire fraud counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Gregory W. Ehrie, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas P. Grippo of the Economic Crimes Unit.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
Updated September 19, 2018