New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty in Conspiracy to Steal Checks from Mail
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 11, 2013|
CAMDEN, NJ—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, Pennsylvania, and Delaware; altered them; and cashed them at banks using a series of conspirators, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Derrick Warner, 29, pleaded guilty before 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 a firearm by a previously convicted felon. Warner admitted to illegally possessing the weapon (a Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum handgun) after purchasing it for a conspirator.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Warner and others stole checks from curbside U.S. mailboxes in business industrial parks in Burlington and Camden Counties in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Warner and his conspirators would then recruit a conspirator to cash the stolen checks. Once they identified a person to cash the check, Warner and others would alter the stolen checks so that the name of the “payee” of the check would match the name of the recruited check casher. Warner, the check casher, and often a conspirator would then travel to a bank where the check casher would cash the check.
Warner and his conspirators cashed or attempted to cash more than 45 stolen and altered business checks worth more than $200,000. The scheme resulted in a total loss of more than $100,000 to the victim banks.
Warner is also charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun in late March 2013. He admitted that he purchased the firearm in Camden on behalf of one of his conspirators.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud to which Warner pleaded guilty is punishable by 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. The felon in possession of a firearm count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 4, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge David Bosch; and the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko in Philadelphia, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.