Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cracking Id Theft Case

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cracking Id Theft Case

Article excerpt

From pajamas and lingerie to household items and hardware, a crew of identity thieves bought goods from stores after fraudulently making themselves authorized users of other people's credit cards, authorities said Friday.

What helped crack the case was that some of the victims notified local police, most of whom share intelligence on identity theft, said Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli. When learning that they have been victimized by identity theft, most people only notify their credit card companies, he said.

"The advice always is: Call your local police department," Molinelli said. "Unfortunately, many people don't do that."

Thirteen police departments and the county Prosecutor's Office were involved in the investigation that led to the arrests Thursday of 11 men and women accused of stealing well over $150,000 from more than 70 victims.

The victims were clients who had recently applied for loans through NJ Lenders Corp. of Little Falls, Molinelli said. Documents obtained from clients had been transported to C. Marino Records, a warehouse in Paterson, he said.

It was there that Kyle Davis, a 48-year-old man working as a laborer for $600 a week, stole documents and sold them to Shontera N. Jennings, 32, and Judith Broadnax, 47, both of Paterson, Molinelli said.

Armed with crucial personal identifying information, the two women would then call financial institutions and apply for credit cards in the names of the victims, he said. The two women also recruited a "bust-out crew" of more than a half dozen men and women, whose names would be added as authorized users to the credit-card accounts of the victims, the prosecutor said.

The credit cards obtained by the ring were store cards for Macy's, Bloomingdales, Kohl's, The Home Depot and Annie Sez, among other stores, Molinelli said. A new card would then be mailed to the address of the victim, and the victims usually became aware of the scam when they received a card that they didn't apply for, he said. …

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