Ten Long Island Residents Charged in Nationwide Identity Fraud Scheme
New York, NY(Law Firm Newswire) July 12, 2021 – Thirteen people and three corporations were charged on a 108-count indictment in relation to a nationwide synthetic identity fraud scheme that netted over $1 million from financial institutions. Authorities believe the defendants also amassed a credit limit of hundreds of millions of dollars across the United States.
The scam’s alleged mastermind was Adam D. Arena, 43, of Corona, California. He is facing multiple counts of grand larceny and money laundering, among other charges. The other defendants, including ten residents of Suffolk County, Long Island, were charged with grand larceny. Three corporations were charged with money laundering.
“The defendants, in this case, are accused of orchestrating a complex, large-scale crime,” commented Peter Brill, a Long Island criminal defense lawyer with Brill Legal Group, who is not involved with the case. “Law enforcement officers are devoting considerable resources to fighting identity theft and fraud. Anyone who is facing grand larceny or other criminal charges should immediately hire a skilled defense attorney who can help avoid the harsh penalties that often come with such offenses.”
Suffolk Police started an investigation in August 2018 after a local bank employee called authorities to express concern about a borrower with around $20,000 in unpaid debt. Investigators found that the defendants allegedly used stolen information to create over 20 bogus identities. They then used the identities to fraudulently get credit card accounts and loans from 19 banks and credit unions in Suffolk County.
Authorities said the alleged scammers stole Social Security numbers belonging to children, senior citizens, recent immigrants and other people who were not as likely to monitor their credit histories. They then attempted to legitimize the fake identities by obtaining library accounts and rewards cards.
Arena’s alleged role in the scheme included opening shell corporations to boost the credit ratings of the fake identities. Arena was arrested in February and pleaded not guilty to the indictment. He faces five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
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