Seven men were indicted Tuesday afternoon for passing around bad checks causing over $260,000 loss for two check cashing businesses, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Sean Scillieri, 26, of Hawthorne, an employee at the Scillieri Funeral Home on 5th Avenue in Paterson, masterminded a scheme to cash business checks at two check cashing businesses that were written on insufficient funds.
A business manager at the funeral home Scillieri worked with co-conspirators to put his scheme in motion. Ryan Franklin, 24, of Hawthorne; Blerim Ibraimi, 34, of Hawthorne; Brian Zuidema, 32 of Wyckoff; Homero Mendoza-Garcia, 26, of Hawthorne; Andrew Pardine, 27, of Passaic; and Mark Sessoms, 54, of Paterson worked with Scillieri in the four-month long conspiracy.
All seven have been charged with second-degree conspiracy.
Authorities said Scillieri “floated” the checks between various checking accounts under his control to artificially inflate the balance in the funeral home’s checking account. ”When Scillieri failed to cover the outstanding checks, the scheme collapsed and the check cashing businesses sustained a $260,000 loss,” authorities said.
Each of the seven alleged conspirators personally profited by sharing the cash obtained from the check cashing businesses, authorities said. Authorities said during the four-month May, June, July, and August 2013 the scheme was being run over $1.4 million worth of checks were floated through the funeral homes’ business checking account.
The seven allegedly “structured” the transactions by cashing out checks under $10,000 to avoid hitting bank reporting threshold requirement.
Franklin, Ibraimi, Mendoza-Garcia, Pardine and Zuidema are charged with second-degree theft by deception, passing bad checks, money laundering, and third-degree structuring, authorities said.
Scillieri is charged with first-degree money laundering, second-degree theft by deception, passing bad checks, and third-degree structuring.
Sessoms is charged with third-degree theft by deception, passing bad checks, money laundering, and structuring, authorities said.
A first-degree offense is punishable by 10-20 years in state prison. A second-degree crime is punishable by 5-10 years in state prison. And a third-degree crime is punishable by three-five years in state prison, authorities said.