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Nationwide credit union fraud ring busted in New York

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

In Albany a sophisticated fraud scheme targeting credit unions across the country has been disrupted, with four more defendants recently arraigned, bringing the total to eight. The conspiracy, which began in December 2021, resulted in over $1 million in losses through exploiting the shared branching network of credit unions. The network, designed to facilitate account access for credit union members nationwide, was manipulated by the defendants using fake identifications to perform fraudulent transactions.

Victor Barriera, Jerjuan Joyner, Akeem Balogun, and Lesley Lucchese are among those charged in the indictment for bank fraud conspiracy and other related charges. The fraudulent activities, which spanned across Albany, Clinton, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties, funded the purchase of luxury items such as Rolex watches, Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and high-end fashion.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and FBI Special Agent Craig L. Tremaroli announced the arrests, emphasizing the collaborative effort of multiple law enforcement agencies in the investigation. While the accused face severe penalties if convicted, including up to 30 years for bank fraud, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The case underscores the vulnerabilities within the financial system and the ongoing battle against identity theft and fraud.