A Middlesex County man pleaded guilty today in connection with his role in a phony check scheme that stole more than $2 million in merchandise from home improvement stores in New Jersey and nine other states, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Wednesday.

John Muyeka, 44, of Sayreville, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to a count of misprision of a felony.

Between December 2013 and February 2017, Muyeka and others agreed to use fake checks to buy high-value items like air conditioners and hardwood flooring from home improvement stores, prosecutors said.

They typically purchased the items either by using a check with a phony name but authentic account and routing numbers, or by pretending to be an authorized signatory on a store credit account that previously was opened with a phony check, Carpenito said.

During some transactions in the long-running scheme, fake driver’s licenses were used that had been created by Muyeka.

The scheme targeted retailers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.

Muyeka faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, when sentenced on Oct. 15.

Carpenito said the investigation involved police in Union Township, Holmdel, Totowa and Monroe, as well as the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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