By Kristen Johanson

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) – The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced a group of more than 20 people were indicted by a grand jury in a scheme that stole tens of thousands of dollars from banks inside Atlantic City casinos using a popular customer service tactic to their advantage.

Officials say 35-year-old ringleader Michael Williams and twenty others stole almost $90,000 from TD Banks using fake checks.

Investigators say Williams would deposit the phony checks into the accounts, and then would use the Casinos’ Cash Advance System to steal the funds:

“He would deposit checks into their banks accounts and then take advantage of same-day availability, go to the casinos, withdraw the money that same day,” explains Acting Attorney General John Hoffman. “And then, by the time the banks realized the checks were bad, he was off with the money.”

Hoffman says Williams would then reward the account holders:

“He’d say ‘look, you get a little bit of a cut of this, and you can keep some of the cash yourself and as long as I get away with 70-80 percent of it, you can keep the rest.’ It’s not that uncommon a scheme.”

Williams was charged with second-degree conspiracy and fraud, and faces up to ten years in prison. The rest of the ring was charged with related offenses, but will likely serve a lesser term.

Kristen Johanson