Two New Jersey Women Charged in $175 Million Check-Cashing Scheme

arrested

CAMDEN, NJ — Two Burlington County women with businesses in Riverside, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were arrested on June 9, 2022, and charged with operating an illegal unlicensed check-cashing operation that cashed over $175 million in checks and failed to file Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) on their customers, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Luciana Machado, 42, of Riverside, and Juliana Gomes-Souza, 45, of Cinnaminson, Jersey, are charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to fail to file CTRs and operate an unlicensed money transmitting business. Machado and Gomes-Souza made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio on Thursday.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in Court:

Since at least 2018, Machado and Gomes-Souza have operated two businesses – Via Brazil I in Riverside and Via Brazil II in Philadelphia – as a criminal enterprise that has allowed their customers to cash over $175 million in checks without generating CTRs or financial records identifying their customers. This facilitates the customers’ ability to pay off-the-books employees and laborers in cash and avoid payroll and income taxes.

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The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine $250,000, or twice the gross financial gain derived or twice the loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins; postal inspectors of the U.S. States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Damon Wood, Philadelphia Division; special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge William Walker; special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone; agents of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca; agents of the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation, under the direction of Executive Director Chadd W. Lackey; officers with the Cinnaminson Police Department, under the direction of Chief Richard Calabrese; and officers with the Riverside Police Department under the direction of Chief H. David Jaensch. He also thanked the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, for its assistance in the case.

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The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Malagold of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division.

Information is subject to change at any time as additional details may emerge. Information, a criminal complaint, or an arrest is not a declaration of guilt. A suspect, arrestee, or defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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