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Union Man Ran Unlicensed, $400M Check-Cashing Business: Feds

Authorities say a Union man helped Newark employers skirt payroll and other taxes with an unlicensed check-cashing business
Authorities say a Union man helped Newark employers skirt payroll and other taxes with an unlicensed check-cashing business Photo Credit: File

A 40-year-old Union resident was scheduled to appear in federal court Monday on charges he oversees a massive, illicit check-chasing empire, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Fernando Q. Martins, who owns a number of businesses in Newark, was arrested on Friday in connection with the $400 million check-cashing operation.

Martins allegedly cashed checks mostly from construction workers and others in the building trades since at least 2015. Martins also allowed customers to write checks to businesses he operated as part of the scheme, federal authorities said.

The scheme allowed Martins' customers to avoid reporting receipt of the cash on currency transaction reports, helping the customers pay workers off the books to avoid payroll taxes, authorities also said.

If convicted he faces up to five years in prison and a fine.

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