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Bank Employee Admits Stealing Over $100K in Federal Benefits from Deceased Customer

A former bank employee has confessed to embezzling federal retirement funds from a deceased customer’s account, admitting to a wire fraud charge involving more than $105,000.

On April 17, 2024, in Newark federal court, Jorge Nova, a 35-year-old former bank employee from Passaic, New Jersey, entered a guilty plea to wire fraud. The indictment against him stemmed from his actions while employed at a commercial bank in Nutley, New Jersey. U.S. District Judge Evelyn Padin presided over the proceedings, according to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.

Court documents reveal that from 2014 until October 2018, Nova exploited the continuation of Social Security Administration (SSA) retirement benefits deposited into a deceased customer's account. The Social Security Administration had not been informed of the death of the beneficiary, leading to the uninterrupted flow of funds. 

Nova orchestrated the issuance of debit cards in the deceased’s name, which he then used to systematically withdraw the retirement benefits. Furthermore, he registered accounts under the deceased's name with a money transfer service and accessed additional funds from another bank account belonging to the beneficiary.

Nova's fraudulent activities ultimately netted him over $105,000 from the federal retirement benefits that were intended for the deceased. The charge of wire fraud carries a severe potential sentence, with up to 30 years in prison and fines reaching $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for October 8, 2024.

The case was brought to light thanks to the diligent efforts of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Division, under Special Agent-in-Charge Sharon MacDermott. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachelle M. Navarro of the Organized Crimes and Gang Unit in Newark.

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