Several members of the New Jersey Bloods street gang have been arrested by authorities, accused of using laptops and digital cameras to create counterfeit cheques worth $654,000.
A total of 31 defendants, including eight members of the notorious gang, have been indicted in connection with the fraud schemes, which resulted in the theft of over $341,000 from eight banks between 2005 and 2007.
Institutions hit by the gang include Bank of America, PNC Bank, Valley National Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Commerce Bank, Wachovia Bank, Bank of New York, and Sovereign Bank.
According to Attorney General Anne Milgram, the scam was led by eight alleged members or associates of the Nine Trey Gangsters set of the Bloods, who recruited the other people charged.
Authorities say members of the operation recruited employees of legitimate businesses throughout New Jersey to allow them to copy or scan payroll and personal cheques. This gave them the format of the cheque, the names on the account, and the corresponding routing numbers for the accounts.
The enterprise 'managers' then used laptops and digital cameras to create and print counterfeit cheques - ranging in value from $400 to $9000 - payable to other members of the conspiracy.
'Recruiters' would then get accomplices to either cash forged cheques in their names or deposit them in bank accounts, with the money withdrawn from ATMs. The proceeds would then be split.
A total of $654,000 worth of counterfeit cheques were passed during the two year scam although the members only got away with about $341,000 because on several occasions the targeted banks discovered the cheques were bad and stopped payment or froze accounts.
Says Milgram: "The Bloods are a plague on our communities, trafficking in drugs and guns and inflicting horrific violence. This investigation reveals the Bloods on new turf, defrauding banks of hundreds of thousands of dollars using counterfeit cheques."