Credit cards

Identity theft ring recruited Postal Service postmen to steal credit cards: DA

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) – Ten people have been charged in an identity theft conspiracy that included United States Postal Service factors and netted more than $750,000, the Manhattan District Attorney announced Wednesday, Cy Vance.

The alleged crimes were committed between January 2017 and August 2019, with accused ringleader Michael Richards, 37, accused of recruiting multiple postmen to steal credit cards from the mail they delivered in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Burke , Virginia.

Those factors were identified as Kennisha Murrell, 36, Curquan Highsmith, 31, Bruce Bienvenu, 31, and Kenneth Freeman, 25.

Richards allegedly paid the postmen different amounts based on the performance of the stolen cards.

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Vance said members of the conspiracy used online databases to obtain personal identifying information about cardholders in order to activate cards and buy high-end goods from luxury retailers.

The defendants are charged with fourth degree conspiracy, three counts of second degree grand larceny and other related counts.

“This holiday season, we know identity thieves will not only target our inboxes, but our mailboxes as well,” Vance said. “So we are warning the scammers. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has the cybercrime and identity theft expertise, resources and partnerships to find you and hold you accountable. We will continue to work hand in hand. working with the US Postal Inspection Service and the NYPD to root out fraud and protect the integrity of a service millions of New Yorkers rely on.”

As alleged, between January 2017 and August 2019, defendants stole more than $750,000 from financial institutions by withdrawing more than 1,000 credit cards from mail customers and using them to purchase high-end retail items.

Authorities have identified Shamar Haughton, 38, who they say acted as a courier, collecting stolen mail containing credit cards from carriers.

Justin Forgenie, 33, is accused of providing Richards with personal identification information of stolen credit card holders that he obtained by searching cardholders’ names in subscription databases such as LexisNexis and Transunion.

Tatiana Smith, 34, allegedly used the stolen credit cards and personal identifying information to make retail purchases under Richards’ direction, including at Hermes, Bloomingdale’s, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Best Buy and Macy’s .

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They say Richards asked Smith to buy items that could easily be resold or returned for store credit which was then sold for cash, while Suzana Mikhaylova, 34, and Daniel Mikhylova, 39 , made unauthorized transactions at the jewelry store they owned. , The Watch Standard, by processing fictitious transactions using the store’s merchant card processing accounts.

“Today’s indictment alleges an elaborate national fraud scheme that betrayed our mail delivery system to prey on innocent victims,” ​​NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “But fortunately, our NYPD investigators, law enforcement partners and prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have worked in tandem to dismantle this enterprise and bring these defendants to justice.”

Vance said the fraud was uncovered in February 2019 when a credit card company noticed a pattern of new cards not reaching their owners and contacted the United States Postal Inspection Service for help. ‘aid.

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