Man Uses Phony Checks To Steal $2M In Merchandise

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  NEWARK – A Middlesex County man pleaded guilty for his role in phony check scheme that stole over $2 million in merchandise from multiple home improvement stores nationwide, US Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

  John Muyeka, 44, of Sayreville pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of a felony in federal court on July 10.

  According to court evidence, between December 2013 and February 2017, Muyeka and other conspirators participated in a scheme to obtain merchandise or store credit from home improvement stores all over the US States, including New Jersey, by purchasing items with fraudulent checks.

  The individuals would go into home improvement and retail stores, pick out high ticket items, and “purchase” them with fraudulent checks with a phony name but authentic account and routing numbers, or by pretending to be an authorized signatory on a store credit account that was previously opened with a phony check.

  On some occasions, they even showed fake driver’s licenses, created by Muyeka, which either duplicated the phony name imprinted on the fraudulent check or matched the name of an authorized signatory on a store credit account that they had previously opened.

  The conspirators allegedly stole over $2 million in merchandise from various retailers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina through this scheme.

  The count of misprision carries a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15, 2019.