Five West African immigrants face charges as part of a fraudulent check-cashing ring accused of stealing more than $6 million through a scheme that recruited participants over the Internet, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office said Wednesday.
Prosecutors said the men pilfered corporate checks from a Southwest Philadelphia mail distribution center, altered recipient lines, and helped other immigrants open bank accounts with the proceeds.
The ring's efforts resulted in $6 million in losses, according to the grand jury presentment in their case.
Those facing charges are:
Adebisi Oladipupo, 35, of Chester, who purportedly told investigators that he fished hundreds of business checks out of the mail while he was employed at the mail distribution center between March 2010 and July 2012.
Saheed Adebayo, 58, a Brooklyn, N.Y., man who Oladipupo said bought the checks from him and later had them altered.
Traoere Boubacar, 36, of Philadelphia, who allegedly assisted immigrants recruited by the ring in opening accounts at a Wells Fargo branch in West Philadelphia.
Jeremy Gekonge, 29, of Lafayette Hill, a bank teller, who investigators say overrode restrictions on immediate cash withdrawals for recently opened accounts.
Amed Conde, 43, of Philadelphia, who purportedly recruited individuals off the Internet to deposit the fraudulent checks at some of the suspect bank accounts.
Gekonge, Adebayo, and Oladipupo await trial on charges of conspiracy, theft, and receiving stolen property. Boubacar and Conde remain at large.