M’TOWN MAN CHARGED WITH CHECK FRAUD

call-in-the-authoritiesA Middletown man was arrested yesterday on check-kiting charges that authorities say defrauded a Shrewsbury bank branch of nearly $93,000.

Sandy Masselli, 48, was held on $100,000 bail and ordered to surrender his passport as a condition of being released, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office, which announced the arrest Thursday afternoon.

Here’s the text of the announcement from the prosecutor’s office:

On September 22, 2010, Sandy Masselli, 48, of Middletown Township, N.J., was arrested
by Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office on criminal arrest warrants
charging him with second degree Theft by Deception, third degree Bad Checks and third degree Forgery.

An investigation which was conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in
conjunction with the Shrewsbury Borough Police Department revealed that between September
2008 and February 2009, Masselli defrauded Chase Bank out of approximately $92,961.50 by
engaging in “check kiting.” “Check kiting” is a fraudulent practice wherein a bank customer
writes checks which are drawn against one bank account and then deposits the checks into a
second bank account with knowledge that there are insufficient funds in the first account to cover
the checks. Because of the “float,” the bank customer can then withdraw the funds from the
second account before the funds from the deposited checks are actually transferred to it from the
first account. By withdrawing the funds from the second account quickly after the checks are
deposited, the bank customer takes advantage of the “float.”

The investigation revealed that Masselli deposited checks drawn against an E-Trade
account and against two accounts with the Bank of Montreal into three separate Chase Bank
accounts. The E-Trade and Bank of Montreal accounts did not contain sufficient funds to cover
the checks Masselli deposited or had already been closed by the time Masselli deposited the
checks into the Chase Bank accounts. A financial analysis by the Monmouth County
Prosecutor’s Office revealed that the checks which Masselli deposited into the three Chase
accounts totaled approximately $351,771. Masselli quickly withdrew approximately $92,961.50
against the deposits during the “float.”

The investigation additionally revealed that when Masselli opened the E-Trade Bank
account in the name of a company called “First American Financial,” he provided a fictitious
name as an authorized agent on the account. Masselli then signed two E-Trade checks using the
fraudulent name. Following Masselli’s arrest, Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Daniel
M. Waldman set bail for Masselli at $100,000. A condition of Masselli’s bail is that he must
surrender his passport.

Masselli appeared before Monmouth County Presiding Municipal Court Judge John
G. Colannino in Freehold, N.J., for a Bail Review and Initial Appearance on September 23,
2010. Judge Colannino ordered that Masselli’s bail remain as previously set.

If convicted of second degree Theft by Deception, the maximum potential custodial
sentence is a State Prison term of up to 10 years. If convicted of either of the third degree crimes
Masselli has been charged with, the maximum potential custodial sentence is a State Prison term
of up to five years.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has of the trial rights
guaranteed by the United Stated Constitution and State law.

The case is assigned to Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Nicole Colucci. Defense
counsel has not yet entered an appearance with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office on
behalf of Masselli.