NEWARK, N.J. – A Brooklyn, New York, man today admitted his role in a scheme to defraud banks of more than $1 million using stolen and counterfeited checks and stolen identities, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Frank Ambrosio, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ambrosio and his conspirators, including Benjamin Rich and Felix Alamo, agreed to defraud banks across New Jersey by using the stolen personal identification information of other individuals to open fraudulent bank accounts and deposit stolen and counterfeited checks. Rich used stolen identities, which included Social Security numbers belonging to minors, to create sham businesses. Ambrosio, Rich, Alamo and others opened bank accounts for the sham businesses and deposited stolen or counterfeited checks into the accounts and attempted to withdraw or transfer the funds before the banks could detect the fraud. Over the course of the scheme, Ambrosio and his conspirators deposited approximately $1 million in fraudulently obtained checks into the fraudulent business bank accounts, resulting in at least $250,000 in losses to the various banks.
The charge of bank fraud carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and a statutory maximum fine of $1 million, or twice the gain derived from the offense or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a statutory minimum prison term of two years in prison, to run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed on the bank fraud charge. Sentencing is scheduled for February 9, 2022.
Alamo previously pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 4, 2021.
Rich was indicted on these charges on June 25, 2021, and his trial date has not been scheduled.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero; special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McKay; and the New York Police Department’s Special Fraud Squad under the direction of Assistant Police Chief Jason Wilcox.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Farhat of the Government Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charges and allegations against Rich and are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: William Strazza Esq., Chester, New Jersey