Two Elizabeth women each sentenced to prison for operating counterfeit check scheme

NEWARK – Two Elizabeth women were each sentenced Tuesday to prison for conspiring to commit bank fraud by depositing more than half a million dollars in counterfeit checks into different TD Bank accounts, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

Latisha White, 29, was sentenced to 26 months in prison and Synethia Bland, 30, was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Both women previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William Martini to one count of bank fraud conspiracy in the superseding indictment against them. Martini imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: From Oct. 2009 to May 2012, White created counterfeit checks on her computer using commercially available check-writing software. White and Bland deposited the counterfeit checks into multiple accounts at TD Bank. Bland recruited others to use their own accounts or open new accounts to deposit the counterfeit checks.

White and Bland employed a variety of methods to withdraw the fraudulent funds, including making ATM cash withdrawals, submitting cash withdrawal slips and making debit card purchases on merchandise and postal money orders.

White and Bland each admitted they arranged the deposit of more than 150 counterfeit checks into more than 120 different bank accounts. They also each admitted that they deposited counterfeit checks that totaled more than $500,000.

In addition to the prison term, Martini sentenced White and Bland to each serve three years of supervised release and to forfeit $225,000 each. Restitution is still being determined.