NEWARK, N.J. – Two Essex County, New Jersey, men were arrested this morning and charged in connection with a scheme that allegedly caused losses of approximately $500,000 by deceiving victim banks into crediting certain customer accounts that could be fraudulently accessed by members of the conspiracy, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Yaseen Salih, 19, of East Orange and Chad Brown, 21, of Orange are charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court. Salih was released on $200,000 bond. Brown was detained.

According to the complaint, from September 2015 through the present, Salih, Brown, and others conspired to fraudulently obtain money from two victim banks.

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First, Salih, Brown and others obtained information pertaining to actual bank accounts belonging to customers of the two victim banks, including the customers’ bank account numbers and their personal identification numbers. In some instances, the conspirators obtained debit cards associated with the accounts or Salih and Brown personally requested access from the account owners.

Afterwards, a member of the conspiracy called a teller at the victim bank. After deceiving the teller into believing that the caller was an employee of the victim bank, the caller convinced the teller to credit funds into the above customer accounts.

Once the funds were credited into the customer accounts, members of the conspiracy used debit cards associated with the accounts to obtain the fraudulently credited funds, either by withdrawing the funds directly from ATM machines at branch locations of the victim banks, or by purchasing postal money orders.

To date, the losses associated with the conspiracy exceed approximately $500,000.

The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge 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.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Fontecchio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.