Between 2006 and 2008, a father and his grown children operated what prosecutors called a racketeering ring that spanned several states and profited them by more than $600,000. When it was all said and done, however, the family would be sentenced to a combined total of 48 years for their individual roles in the scam.
According to the New Jersey Ledger, the charges ranged from racketeering to organized crime, and the taking of personal identifying information. The family would recruit people to obtain real, legitimate payroll checks which would be copied and then cashed at banks in Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Connecticut.
Local law enforcement called their investigation into the family “Operation Stop Payment.” Their investigation would result in 15 arrests and a 407 count original indictment. This means over 400 charges came about from the investigation, though not all would ultimately end in a conviction.
The father and supposed ringleader was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $100,000. His son, 25 years old, was sentenced to 11 years for racketeering and theft by deception. A step-daughter will serve 9 and a half years for racketeering and possessing false documents.
The majority of those initially arrested in the round-up negotiated plea agreements in exchange for their testimony against the family.
Manufacturing fraudulent checks is more than a simple bad check charge. This is a serious crime with serious consequences. Though large operations like the one this family was running aren’t common, even relatively minor fraud and theft charges can result in prison time.
What likely happened here, as with what happens so often in similar cases, is the family tried it once, was successful and tried it again. While they may have seen it as a risk, they likely got bolder with each successful illegal transaction. When someone is confident they won’t get caught, they get more brazen with their actions. But when they’re ultimately caught they are shocked that their scheme didn’t last longer.
Being charged with fraud, theft, or any similar white collar or embezzlement crime can be life changing. In addition to the potential prison sentence, you may have extreme difficulty in finding gainful employment after such a case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help.