Identity theft ring recruited postal service letter carriers to steal credit cards: DA

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) – Ten people have been charged with an identity theft conspiracy that included letter carriers from the United States Postal Service and brought in more than $ 750,000, the Manhattan district attorney said Wednesday, Cy Vance.

The alleged crimes were committed between January 2017 and August 2019, with accused leader Michael Richards, 37, accused of recruiting several letter carriers to steal credit cards from mail they delivered to New York and New York. Virginia.

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

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Vance said conspiracy members used online databases to obtain personal identifying information from cardholders in order to activate cards and purchase high-end products from luxury retailers.

The accused are charged with fourth degree conspiracy, three counts of second degree robbery and other related charges.

“This holiday season, we know that identity thieves will not only target our inboxes, but our mailboxes,” said Vance. “So we are warning the crooks. 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. with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the NYPD to root out fraud and protect the integrity of a service that millions of New Yorkers rely on. “

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

Richards would have paid different factors depending on the performance of the cards they stole.

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 the personally identifiable information of stolen credit card holders he obtained by searching for cardholder names in subscription databases like LexisNexis and Transunion.

Tatiana Smith, 34, is said to have used stolen credit cards and personally identifiable 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 purchase 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, performed unauthorized transactions in the jewelry store they owned. , The Watch Standard, by processing fictitious transactions using the store’s merchant card processing accounts.

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

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

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