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Organized crime ring steals $450,000 from Canadian bank

A loophole in TD Bank’s depositing policy allowed cash to be withdrawn before checks cleared

Between August 2009 and May 2011, 94 people took advantage of a loophole in the check depositing policy at Canada’s TD Bank to steal upwards of $450,000, say Manhattan prosecutors.

According to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the ring defrauded the bank by depositing bad checks into savings accounts, then transferring the money to checking accounts, allowing them to withdraw cash at casinos and elsewhere before the check failed to clear and the bank realized anything was wrong.

The scheme’s ringleaders (or “recruiters”) would give other members seed money to open accounts and get ATM cards, the Wall Street Journal reports. After the money was withdrawn, the recruiters gave the accountholders a few hundred bucks and kept the rest.

Some of the alleged members of the scheme were arraigned on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to commit grand larceny, grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument. Two of the main recruiters, Joel Luciano and Freddie Mercado, were among those charged on Wednesday. They both pleaded not guilty.

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