NEWARK, NJ — Two Essex County men were sentenced Nov. 16 and 17 for their roles in a scheme to steal credit cards, debit cards, and checks from the mail and use the stolen cards and checks to attempt over a million dollars of retail and online purchases and cash withdrawals, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced Nov. 17.
Jahad Salter, 26, of Newark, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and Hakir Brown, 28, of Newark, was sentenced to 31 months in prison. Salter had previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and Brown previously pleaded guilty before McNulty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. McNulty imposed the sentences in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Salter, Brown and others engaged U.S. Postal Service employees to steal credit cards and debit cards from the mail in exchange for compensation, and Salter and others engaged the same employees to steal checks, including federal stimulus payments issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once they obtained the stolen cards, Salter, Brown and their conspirators unlawfully obtained the credit and debit card holders’ personal identifiers and used that information to fraudulently pose as the account holders of the stolen credit and debit cards when calling the banks that issued the cards and used that personal identifying information belonging to the account holders to obtain or change information about the stolen credit cards. They, and others, then used the stolen credit cards to make purchases at retail stores in New Jersey and elsewhere, including New York and online. They and others also negotiated stolen checks, obtaining cash. In total, the scheme resulted in attempted losses of more than $1 million.
In addition to the prison terms, McNulty sentenced Salter to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay forfeiture of $124,076. He sentenced Brown to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay forfeiture of $46,209.