A 26-year-old city man pleaded guilty Thursday to taking part in a conspiracy involving $1.5 million in fraudulent checks, US Attorney Paul Fishman announced.
Kurtis Steele faces up to 30 years in jail and a $1 million fine when he’s sentenced May 29.
Steele was among a group that stole blank checks that had been mailed to bank customers, endorsed them for various sums, then deposited them into legitimate accounts opened at TD Bank, PNC, Valley National and other institutions. The funds were withdrawn before victims and the banks were able to discover the fraud.
Steele was caught on surveillance video making deposits and withdrawing funds.
The ring deposited $1.5 million in phony checks stolen from 122 victims at 258 different banks. The scheme resulted in a $625,000 loss.