Bronx Man Stole Checks, Defrauded Banks in NJ

NEWARK, N.J.– A Bronx, New York, man was charged for his participation in a scheme to steal and alter checks from the mail and engage in bank fraud, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Claude Anthony Burnett, 23, is charged by complaint with one count of bank fraud conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to receive and possess stolen mail. He is scheduled to appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From at least February 2020 to November 2020, Burnett and others conspired to steal checks from mailboxes in and around Morris, Essex, Somerset, and Passaic counties, alter the stolen checks, and deposit the altered checks into bank accounts controlled by Burnett and his conspirators. To date, the investigation has identified over 140 checks with a face value of over $600,000 that have been stolen, altered, and deposited in accounts controlled by Burnett and his conspirators.

The count of bank fraud conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million; the count of conspiracy to receive and possess stolen mail carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain to the defendant or loss to the victim, whichever is greater.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Newark Division, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vijay Dewan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.