RIDGEFIELD, N.J. -- A Ridgefield woman was sentenced Thursday to 25 months in federal prison -- and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution and forfeiture -- for conspiring to deposit more than $1 million in fraudulent checks into different bank accounts.
Chunhua Jin, 46, pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy charges last May as part of a plea deal.
From July 2014 to April 2015, Jin said, she and others opened accounts at Bank of America and other institutions in the names of fake businesses, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
The conspirators "then made small deposits and withdrawals over several weeks to make the accounts appear legitimate," Fishman said.
Jin or a conspirator "would eventually deposit a fake check for a large dollar amount into the account," he said.
The victimized banks credited some or all of the deposit amount on the fake check for immediate withdrawal, and the conspirators then withdrew as much money as possible before the bank realized the check was bogus, the U.S. Attorney said.
Jin admitted that she and others made ATM cash withdrawals, submitted cash withdrawal slips and made debit card purchases on merchandise, resulting in losses to the banks of at least $1.7 million.
Fishman credited inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, along with investigators from the Middlesex County and Morris County prosecutor's offices.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin S. Herring of Fishman's Economic Crimes Unit in Newark handled the case.
The federal prison system doesn't have parole, so convicts ordinarily serve all, or nearly all, of their sentences.