New York Man Admits Role in Bank Fraud
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Bronx, New York, man today admitted his role in a scheme to steal bank customer identities and then use the information to steal more than $600,000, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Lamar Melhado, 32, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to Count 1 of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From August 2016 through August 2017, Melhado conspired with Jamere Hill-Birdsong, of Camden, and others, to defraud a Mount Laurel, New Jersey, bank. Hill-Birdsong worked inside the call center and recruited other call center employees to participate in the scheme by stealing the identities and account information of customers who called into the bank’s call center. The conspirator bank employees would then take photographs or screenshots of the bank customers’ account information and signatures and would send that information to Hill-Birdsong and Melhado. The conspirators then had phony identification documents made in the names of the bank customers, and used various runners to go into bank branches and make unauthorized cash withdrawals. The conspirators also used the stolen identity information to conduct unauthorized online transfers of monies from the customer’s accounts.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge to which Melhado pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. In his plea agreement, Melhado agreed to make restitution for the full amount of the loss, which is estimated at $604,000. Sentencing for Melhado is scheduled for March 7, 2022.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited agents of the FBI’s South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian Herrick in Philadelphia, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana Vondra Carrig of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.