NEWARK, N.J. – An Orange, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in a scheme that defrauded New Jersey banks out of $1.5 million by deceiving them into crediting certain customer accounts that were controlled by members of the conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Chad Brown, 21, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of bank fraud conspiracy.

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

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From September 2015 through May 2017, Brown and others conspired to fraudulently obtain money from two victim banks. First, Brown and others obtained information from 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, Brown and others obtained debit cards associated with the accounts or personally requested access from the account owners.

Afterwards, members of the conspiracy called tellers at the victim bank, posed as bank employees, and deceived the tellers into crediting funds into the above customer accounts.

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

The victim banks suffered losses of more than $1.5 million from the scheme.

The charge to which Brown pleaded guilty 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. Sentencing is scheduled for May 15, 2018.