CAMDEN, N.J. – A Camden woman today admitted accessing a protected computer without authorization to steal money from her employer and then laundering the proceeds of her theft, U.S Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Dilcia Mercedes 38, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb to an information charging her with one count of unauthorized access of a computer with intent to defraud and one count of money laundering.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From April 2014 to May 2017, Mercedes worked for a mortgage lender as a payment processor, and had access to the company’s computer system. She discovered that some escrow checks were returned to the company as undeliverable. Mercedes admitted that she would monitor those funds by checking monthly reports to see if the funds were ever claimed. If the money was not claimed, Mercedes recruited various family members and friends to allow her to use their bank accounts. With that information, Mercedes used her family members’ and friends’ identities to open reloadable debit/credit accounts. She accessed the company’s computer system and made it appear as if the customer requested that the money be sent via wire transfer into the fraudulent accounts. After creating the request, Mercedes then accessed the company’s computer then approved the transfer, using a co-worker’s login and password.
Mercedes caused approximately 580 fraudulent wire transfers, totaling more than $2 million, from her company’s bank account to bank accounts and reloadable debit/credit accounts controlled by Mercedes’ relatives, friends or associates. She then used the money to pay personal expenses.
The count of accessing a protected computer without authorization to defraud carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23, 2019.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur; special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael, special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Wyatt Achord, and special agents of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Stephen Carroll, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Camden.