A Jersey City man was arrested and charged for a scheme that allegedly caused $1 million in losses by using fake passports to open bank accounts into which he and others deposited phony IRS refund checks, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Mamadou Diallo, 42, of Jersey City, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of passport fraud.
He appeared today before U.S. District Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court and was released on a $200,000 bond.
From June 2012 through the present, Diallo and others conspired to fraudulently obtain money from four banks, court documents say.
They created false passports from various West African countries by affixing their own pictures onto passports bearing names other than their own, authorities said.
The conspirators allegedly then opened bank accounts using the doctored passports as photo identification. They deposited fraudulent checks bearing the routing number for the U.S. Treasury and then withdrew the funds.
Officials involved in the investigation determined that the losses associated with the conspiracy exceed $1 million.
The count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Meanwhile, the passport fraud charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison.