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November 02, 2022

Mount Holly man pleads guilty to stealing more than $520K from bank customers in N.J., prosecutors say

Jamere Hill-Birdsong could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for his role; co-conspirator Lamar Melhado was sentenced to four years in prison in March

Crime Fraud
Bank Fraud Mount Holly Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Jamere Hill-Birdsong of Mount Holly pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to a conspiracy to commit bank fraud. While working in a bank call center in Mount Laurel, he along with several co-conspirators stole multiple victim's identities and made unauthorized, fraudulent cash withdrawals of more than $520,000. Hill-Birdsong could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

A man in Burlington County pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal bank fraud charges as part of a conspiracy to steal more than $520,000 from multiple bank customers in Mount Holly, U.S. prosecutors said. 

Jamere Hill-Birdsong, 33, was first charged in March 2021 with one count of bank fraud conspiracy, five counts of bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft for his role in organizing and perpetuating a scheme to steal customer identities and use that information to steal money. 

According to his indictment, Hill-Birdsong worked at the bank's call center in Mount Laurel from 2015 through 2016, answering calls from account holders and accessing their private information as part of his normal job functions. Two alleged co-conspirators — who are unnamed in court documents — worked at the call center until mid-2017. 

From August 2016 through August 2017, Hill-Birdsong conspired with Lamar Melhado, 32, of the Bronx, New York, to defraud the Mount Laurel bank, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger said. While working inside the call center, Hill-Birdsong recruited other employees to participate in the scheme by stealing the identities and account information of customers who called them. 

The conspirators would take photos and screenshots of the customer's account information and signatures and send them to Hill-Birdsong and Melhado. They would then make bogus bank documents with the customers' information and send various accomplices to make cash withdrawals at different bank branches. 

The indictment details six bank fraud victims who were impacted by the conspiracy. Victims reported that Hill-Birdsong, Melhado and the other conspirators used their private information and altered the address on their accounts in order to steal money. 

After providing employees at the Mount Laurel call center with their private information, victims reported unauthorized cash withdrawals of thousands of dollars from at least 15 different bank branches across New Jersey and Philadelphia.   

The conspirators also used the account information to conduct unauthorized online transfers from the customers' accounts, according to Sellinger. 

Melhado pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to four years in prison in March of this year. He was also sentenced to five additional years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $604,096 in restitution and forfeit an additional $151,024. 

Hill-Birdsong's guilty plea carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. In his plea agreement, Hill-Birdsong agreed to make restitution for the full amount of the loss, which is approximately $523,000. He will be sentenced on March 7, 2023.