Capping an enormous investigation involving dozens of victims, South Hackensack police busted 29 people who they said fished checks from a mailbox that they then cashed for upwards of $100,000.
Between August and last month, nearly 40 victims reported checks stolen, altered for larger amounts and cashed by members of the large-scale ring, Detective Capt. Robert Chinchar said Tuesday.
Nearly all of the checks -- which the victims wrote for utility bills, taxes, and mortgage payments -- were fished from a drive-through mailbox at the US Post Office on Huyler Street, the captain said.
They included a dozen defendants from Paterson, four from New York City, three from Hackensack and two from Newark, with the rest coming from Bogota, Teaneck, South Hackensack, Haledon, Passaic and Maryland, he said.
More than 50 charges were filed against the them -- including conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property and forgery, Chinchar said.
He identified the defendants as:
- Yeffry Ramirez, 23, Paterson;
- Yolandy Hernandez, 24, Paterson;
- Leanny Pilar-Colon, 30, Paterson;
- Felix Fernandez-Gomez, 19, Paterson;
- Breilyn Pimentel-Pio, 25, Paterson;
- Richard Perez-Mendez, 20, Paterson;
- Chenin Disla-Ferman, 24, Paterson;
- Luis H. Rodriguez, 21, Paterson;
- Brencis Echavarria-Pena, 23, Paterson;
- Guery Suarez, 31, Paterson;
- Nyoka Smith, 18, Paterson;
- Nastasia Jackson, 21, Paterson;
- Elvin Guzman-Bello, 22, Paterson;
- Willy Rosa, 23, Hackensack;
- Nicolas Rosa, 20, Hackensack;
- Manuel Pimentel-Reyes, 33, Hackensack;
- Gerald Delacruz, 23, South Hackensack;
- Jairro Fernandez, 28, Bogota;
- Wellington Antun, 22, Teaneck;
- Argeni Castro-Taveras, 35, Newark;
- Luisa Soto, 22, Newark;
- Edgardo Baerga, 50, New York, NY;
- Rigoberto Tejada, 28, New York, NY;
- Engers Gomez, 21, Bronx, NY;
- Thomas J. Garcia, 24, Brooklyn, NY;
- Jose D. Mercedez, 19, Passaic;
- Edward J. Guzman, 20, Clifton;
- Tatiana Ezmat, 24, Haledon;
- Daniel Gutierrez, 23, Havre de Grace, MD.
"After being informed of the ongoing thefts, the Post Office upgraded the mailbox to a high security box, which ended the fishing," the captain said.
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