A Union County man with businesses in Newark has been sentenced for operating an unlicensed check cashing business with losses that totaled nearly half-a-billion dollars.

44-year-old Fernando Q. Martins of Union Township previously pleaded guilty to one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

On Thursday, he was sentenced to 60 months in prison.

Federal authorities say Martins admitted that from 2015 through June 2019, he operated a business known as Community Check Cashing in Newark, despite holding no license, registration, or permission from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

He cashed checks for customers in New Jersey and New York, allowing them to cash checks written to shell companies to hide the identity of the customers receiving the cash.

Big Bucks

In his plea agreement, Martins stipulated that the loss amount was between $250 million and $550 million.

Sentencing Details

Once out of prison, Martins will be under three years of supervised release, he's been fined $50,000, and has been ordered to forfeit over $765,000.

U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger thanked special agents with the IRS and Homeland Security Investigations-Newark for their work in this case.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Malagold of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

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