A Staten Island man must spend the next eight years in federal prison for a crime spree in which he defrauded several businesses, stole the identities of three women and robbed a merchant at gunpoint.
Raymond Scura, 31, lived the high life at the expense of others, including a Mount Laurel country club and two Marlton merchants who were left with worthless checks and account information stolen from unwitting victims, federal authorities said.
He also splurged on limo services, luxury hotels and “exotic” car rentals, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Things got violent when Scura forced a business owner to withdraw $10,000 in cash at gunpoint while threatening to kill him and his family.
The purpose, Carpenito said, was to “appear wealthy and obtain the confidence of his victims, who were usually women.”
“Once he convinced his victims of his purported wealth,” the U.S. attorney said, “he would then steal their identities and credit cards to make additional purchases.”
Eight businesses in all were defrauded, Carpenito said.
“As a result of his fraud and aggravated identity theft offenses, Scura caused losses to individuals and businesses in excess of $250,000,” he said.
Scura’s purchases included nearly $20,000 in country club fees, a $52,000 Rolex bought at an Evesham jewelry and nearly $3,000 worth of alcohol from a Marlton wine shop on Christmas Eve in 2016, authorities charged.
The Rolex purchase tripped him up, authorities said. A day later, Scura contacted the store manager and asked to buy two more watches, an FBI complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark says.
The manager checked with his bank, discovered that Scura wrote the check on a non-existent account and called police, it says.
Authorities found Scura at an Atlantic City casino, where New Jersey State Police helped arrest him.
He was carrying more than $23,300 in cash, they said.
Scura nonetheless was at it again following his release from custody, pulling a gun on the owner of an Internet-based business who demanded to be paid in cash, Carpenito said.
Scura forced the business owner to deposit a bogus check for $10,000 at a Belleville bank and then to withdraw the amount in cash to give him, the FBI complaint alleges.
“Don’t tell anybody or I will go to your house and kill you and your family,” authorities said he told the victim.
Scura took a deal from the government rather than go to trial, pleading guilty to wire fraud, aggravated ID theft and Hobbs Act robbery.
He must serve just about all of the bargained sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi during a videoconference Wednesday in Newark because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.
Cecchi sentenced Scura to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $166,505 in restitution to the various victims.
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and members of the Belleville Police Department with the investigation leading to the plea and sentencing, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Amore of his Government Fraud Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Lou.
He also thanked Summit and Evesham police and the Union and Burlington county prosecutor’s offices.
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