NEW BRUNSWICK—Two Carteret residents have pleaded guilty, and a third has been sentenced, for taking part in a conspiracy to steal thousands of dollars from bank accounts, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced Tuesday.
Babatune Ibironke, 24, and his wife, Eryn D. Brown, 22, pleaded guilty on April 14, while an accomplice, John E. Caldwell, Jr., 28, was sentenced on April 12, for his role in the scheme.
The guilty pleas were entered following negotiations with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Brian D. Gillet.
During a hearing before Superior Court Judge Joseph Paone at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick, Ibironke pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit a theft by deception, admitting he helped plan the theft of approximately $150,000 from a PNC Bank customer and from the bank on Route 1 in Edison, where he worked as a teller.
The investigation showed $150,000 was transferred from the private account and placed in two new accounts. The bank intervened and recovered approximately $88,000.
The remaining $62,000 was withdrawn thorough a series of postal orders by unidentified individuals. Only one postal order, valued at $1,000, was directly linked to Ibironke.
Ibironke also admitted a count of conspiring to commit an identity theft, and told the court he obtained personal information from about seven individuals and gave the information to Brown, so she could open fraudulent accounts between January 1, 2009, and April 14, 2009. The scheme was thwarted by law enforcement and neither Ibironke nor Brown received any money.
Brown, who worked at the same bank, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to commit an identity theft, noting she received information from her husband to open the fraudulent bank accounts.
Ibironke also pleaded guilty to a count of identity theft for using Caldwell’s name to try and obtain a U.S. passport in Roselle on March 18, 2008.
Ibironke told the court he was not a U.S. citizen and was unable to obtain a legitimate passport.
Ibironke, who remains in custody at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick, and Brown, who is free on bail, are scheduled to be sentenced May 27 by Paone.
Ibironke faces seven years in a New Jersey state prison and must repay $2,200 that he stole from the bank. Brown is facing a probationary term of up to five years.
Caldwell was sentenced after he pleaded guilty on Dec. 23, 2009, to two counts of conspiracy, admitting he stole money from the bank and conspired to commit identity theft.
Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa placed Caldwell on probation for two years and ordered him to repay the bank $1,200.
Kaplan credited cooperation between various law enforcement agencies that investigated the case. Lt. Daniel Del Bagno and Investigator Robert Torrisi, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, were assisted by investigators from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at the Kilmer branch in Edison, and the PNC Bank Security Department.
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