Two Essex County Men Sentenced to Prison for Using Credit Cards and Checks Stolen From U.S. Mail as Part of a Scheme that Attempted to Defraud Banks of Over $1 Million
NEWARK, N.J. – Two Essex County, New Jersey, men were sentenced yesterday and today for their roles in a scheme to steal credit cards, debit cards, and checks from the mail and use the stolen cards and checks to attempt over a million dollars of retail and online purchases and cash withdrawals, Attorney for the United States Vikas Khanna announced today.
Jahad Salter, 26, of Newark, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and Hakir Brown, 28, Newark, was sentenced to 31 months in prison. Salter had previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and Brown previously pleaded guilty before Judge McNulty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Judge McNulty imposed the sentences in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Salter, Brown, and others engaged USPS employees to steal from the mail, in exchange for compensation, credit cards and debit cards, and Salter and others engaged the same employees to steal checks, including federal stimulus payments issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once they obtained the stolen cards, Salter, Brown and their conspirators unlawfully obtained the credit and debit card holders’ personal identifiers and used that information to fraudulently pose as the accountholders of the stolen credit and debit cards when calling the banks that issued the cards and used that personal identifying information belonging to the accountholders to obtain or change information about the stolen credit cards. They, and others, then used the stolen credit cards to make purchases at retail stores in New Jersey and elsewhere, including New York and online. They and others also negotiated stolen checks, obtaining cash. In total, The scheme resulted in attempted losses of over $1 million.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge McNulty sentenced Salter to three years of supervise release and ordered him to pay forfeiture of $124,076. He sentenced Brown to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay forfeiture of $46,209.
Attorney for the United States Khanna credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero, Philadelphia Division; and special agents of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi, with the investigation leading to the sentencings. He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, District of New Jersey, under the direction of Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; the U.S. Secret Service, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Freaney; the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Mid-Atlantic Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew S. McKay; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel; the Livingston, New Jersey Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gary Marshuetz; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Department of Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé; the Essex County, New Jersey Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura; the New Providence, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Theresa A. Gazaway; and the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Jason Massimino, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.