The mastermind in an elaborate check fraud scheme was sentenced to three to nine years behind bars for his role in a scheme to steal at least $450,000 from TD Bank on earlier today.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said that Joel Luciano, 30, spearheaded the operation that took advantage of a weakness in the banking system.
Luciano, who was convicted of grand larceny, recruited people to open at least 90 accounts at various TD Banks. The account owners would then deposit a bad check and withdraw the money before the check had cleared using casino ATMs with high or no withdrawal limits.
“He was like a shark in the water,” said assistant district attorney Kenn Kern of Luciano.
The conviction is the result of an 18-month investigation that yielded 62 guilty pleas from defendants.
He will not be required to pay the bank back.
“They’ve never asked for restitution,” said his lawyer, Patrick Michael Megaro. “I assume the bank will write it off their balance sheet.”
Megaro said that his client never made more than “$100 here, $200 there” on the scheme.
Luciano should be eligible for parole in 9 to 10 months, the lawyer said.