CHRISTIAN HETRICK, Staff Writer
The Press of Atlantic City
Police have busted another check-cashing scheme that allegedly netted more than $88,000 from Atlantic City casinos.
A grand jury indicted 21 people allegedly involved in the scheme Thursday, Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced.
The defendants allegedly took advantage of TD Bank’s policy of making funds available the same date a check is deposited, according to the attorney general's office.
The alleged ringleader, Michael Williams, 35, of Sicklerville, allegedly recruited the other defendants to either open a new TD Bank account or use their existing TD Bank account to conduct the scheme, the statement said. Williams would allegedly deposit a bad check into an account, and a day later, the account holder would allegedly withdraw most of the money through a Global Cash Access cash advance transaction in either Bally’s Casino or Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, the statement said.
The new accounts opened with small deposits ranging from $2 to $30, the statement said. The bad checks later written were for between $4,900 and $4,995, the statement said.
The scheme was possible because TD Bank offered same-day availability of funds on checks deposited, so the money was withdrawn before TD Bank was notified that the check was bad, the attorney general's office said in a news release. Williams allegedly stole a total of $88,796 with the other defendants. Williams allegedly let the other defendants keep a small share of the stolen money in return for their participation in the scheme, the statement said.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Casino Investigation Financial Crimes Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, the statement said.
Williams received second-degree counts of conspiracy, money laundering and theft by deception. The other defendants were each charged with third-degree counts of conspiracy, money laundering and theft by deception.