|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Hudson County man was sentenced today for using counterfeit checks printed with stolen account information, as well as a stolen credit card number, to purchase more than $60,000 in retail items that he then resold.
Mark A. Woodhouse, 51, of Jersey City, N.J., was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Lisa Rose in Hudson County. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $60,493. Woodhouse pleaded guilty on May 9 to third-degree theft by deception. Deputy Attorneys General Victor R. Salgado and Mallory Shanahan prosecuted Woodhouse and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The charge resulted from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice.
In pleading guilty, Woodhouse admitted he used counterfeit checks to make approximately $60,000 in retail purchases across New Jersey. The state began its investigation after the State Department of Children and Families was alerted by its bank that a counterfeit check bearing the routing, account and check numbers of a legitimate check issued by the department was used to purchase a tablet computer at a Staples store. By diligently pursuing leads related to that check and the purchase, investigators identified numerous fraudulent transactions linked to Woodhouse.
The investigation determined that Woodhouse obtained counterfeit checks from other individuals that bore account and routing numbers stolen from legitimate checking accounts. He enlisted others as “runners” to make purchases with the fake checks by posing as account holders. Counterfeit checks – and, in one instance, a stolen credit card number – were used to make 23 purchases for Woodhouse totaling more than $60,000. The purchases included approximately $49,000 in construction materials, more than $8,000 in electronic devices, and more than $3,000 in automotive parts. Woodhouse resold the stolen goods to contractors and other purchasers.
Woodhouse was arrested in Jersey City on Oct. 29, 2013 by the Division of Criminal Justice and the Jersey City Police Department in a sting operation in which he sold a boiler for $960 to another man. The boiler had been purchased for $1,918 at a Home Depot in Secaucus using a stolen credit card number.
The investigation was conducted by Detective Garrett Brown, Civil Investigator Joseph Salvatore and Deputy Attorneys General Salgado and Shanahan of Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, with assistance from Detective Thomas Page. Acting Attorney General Hoffman also thanked the Jersey City Police Department for their assistance.