Jersey City Man Charged with Using Fake Passports to Conduct $1 Million Bank Fraud Conspiracy

NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man was arrested today and charged with a scheme that allegedly caused $1 million in losses by using fake passports to open bank accounts into which he and others deposited phony IRS refund checks, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Mamadou Diallo, 42, of Jersey City, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of passport fraud. He appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court. Diallo was released on $500,000 bond.

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

From June 2012 through the present, Diallo and others conspired to fraudulently obtain money from four banks. They created false passports from various West African countries by affixing their own pictures onto passports bearing names other than their own. The conspirators then opened bank accounts using the doctored passports as photo identification. They deposited fraudulent checks bearing the routing number for the U.S. Treasury and then withdrew the funds. The losses associated with the conspiracy exceed $1 million.

The count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud 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. The passport fraud charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James Buthorn; special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael; the U.S. Department of Treasury-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Inspector General Eric Thorson; and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari B. Fontecchio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force / Narcotics Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.