The man who admitted directing a payroll check scheme that bilked Price Chopper out of nearly $130,000 was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in prison.
Shardar Tisdale, 23, was sentenced after giving an emotional statement, asking for leniency and saying he wanted to be there for his family and set his life straight.
“I ask the court for mercy,” he said explaining that he wanted to be a father to his new child.
Chief Judge Gary L. Sharpe, though, appeared unmoved, telling Tisdale that his words were similar to those of others who didn’t live up to them. He noted a history of Tisdale disregarding court rules and orders.
Sharpe also noted defense contentions of a tough upbringing, with a father who even recruited Tisdale into financial crimes. But Sharpe said Tisdale must take responsibility for his life.
“In the end, the one responsible for it all is you ... the choice is yours,” he told Tisdale.
Sharpe sentenced Tisdale to a total of 37 months in federal prison. The federal sentencing guidelines for his situation set a range of 37 to 46 months, though the judge could have given him as much as 10 years in prison.
Tisdale pleaded guilty in August to check forgery and to a charge related to conspiracy to commit check forgery. As part of his plea agreement, he admitted to directing the counterfeit check conspiracy between December 2010 and June 2012.
Tisdale prepared counterfeit checks and then recruited individuals to cash the checks, even driving some of them to the supermarkets.
The people he recruited got a small cut of the proceeds in return.
More than 50 of them were later arrested.
The value of the forged payroll checks never exceeded $950, but the total loss attributed to Tisdale was $129,000.
The scheme targeted Price Choppers in Schenectady, Latham, Troy, Albany, Menands, Glenville and Glenmont. The scheme was discovered by a Price Chopper fraud investigator who brought evidence of it to the U.S. Secret Service. From there, the store’s closed-circuit video system, as well as its banking and store security measures, led to the further arrests, a company spokesperson has said.
Tisdale was represented by attorney Kevin Luibrand. In court Wednesday for the U.S. Attorney’s Office was attorney Dan Hanlon. Prosecuting the case was Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Grogan.