7 Members of Identity Fraud Ring Indicted in Manhattan
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
Suspects Obtained New York State Driver's Licenses In Stolen Identities
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today an indictment charging seven members of an identity fraud ring, including two New York City-based employees of NYS-DMV, who allegedly sold more than 200 New York state driver's licenses and other identification documents in stolen identities, netting more than $1 million.
The defendants were previously charged in a complaint unsealed on February 23, 2010. Six defendants were arrested on that complaint; one defendant, MAX LNU (Last Name Unknown), remains at large.
As alleged in the previously-unsealed complaint and in the indictment returned today:
This case targeted a New York-based identity fraud ring that obtained New York State driver's licenses, learner's permits, and identification cards (collectively, "DMV Documents") using stolen identities that belonged to real people and agreed to sell those DMV documents to, among others, convicted felons, a sex offender, an individual featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted," and an undercover officer who claimed to be on the U.S. Government no-fly list. The participants in this criminal scheme included, among others, two allegedly corrupt NYS-DMV employees: ROBIN JONES-WOODSON and GLENDA HINTON.
WILCH DEWALT, a/k/a "Sharrieff Sabazz Muhammad," a/k/a "G," a/k/a "Mark Fowler," a/k/a "License Man," was the identity fraud ring's alleged leader. DEWALT acted as a broker who, in exchange for a fee of between $7,000 and $10,000, served as a one-stop shop for fraudulent identification documents. DEWALT supplied his customers with a complete "package" of identification documents, including some genuine and some fraudulent, that they then used to obtain a DMV Document in a stolen identity.
JOSE R. TORRES-MUNOZ, a/k/a "Paul," a/k/a "Roberto," a/k/a "Alberto," was one of the people from whom DEWALT purchased stolen personal identification information. MAX LNU, a/k/a "David Ray Craven," a/k/a "Julius Simons," and DOUGLAS L. ROPER, a/k/a "Nicky Roper," a/k/a "Nicky Martinez," a/k/a "Nick," a/k/a "Nate," acted as brokers who directed customers seeking fraudulent DMV identification documents to DEWALT. SARA DEL ROCIO CHERREZ-ROMERO, a/k/a "Olga Nieves Matos," provided instructions to DEWALT's Spanish-speaking customers about how to obtain their fraudulent DMV documents. In addition, CHERREZROMERO and MAX LNU each obtained DMV documents in stolen identities for themselves.
DEWALT paid both HINTON and JONES-WOODSON, NYS-DMV employees in Harlem and Yonkers, respectively, for the assistance they provided to the identity fraud ring. In particular, HINTON used a DMV database to determine whether the DMV had already issued any identification documents in the stolen identities and then provided that information to DEWALT. JONES-WOODSON met with DEWALT's customers when they submitted their DMV applications and helped process those applications. JONES-WOODSON also completed the written learner's permit examination for some of DEWALT's customers.
In addition to the charges contained in the Complaint, CHERREZ-ROMERO and MAX LNU have each been charged in the indictment with the misuse of a Social Security number. Both CHERREZ-ROMERO and MAX LNU allegedly used the names and Social Security numbers of other people to obtain DMV documents in stolen identities for themselves.
The charges against each of the seven defendants and the corresponding maximum potential penalties are contained in a chart attached to this press release.
In addition, fifteen alleged customers of the ring were previously charged in separate complaints, and thirteen of those customers have been apprehended by law enforcement officers.
Mr. BHARARA thanked the Department of Homeland Security's United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Office of Inspector General, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the New York Office of the Social Security Administration's Office of Inspector General, the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service, and the United States Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service for their outstanding work on this case.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office's Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys RICHARD C. TARLOWE and BRENT S. WIBLE are in charge of the prosecution.
If you believe you were a victim of this crime, including a victim entitled to restitution, and you wish to provide information to law enforcement and/or receive notice of future developments in the case or additional information, please contact Wendy Olsen-Clancy, the Victim Witness Coordinator at the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, at (866) 874-8900 or Wendy.Olsen@usdoj.gov. For additional information, go to: www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys/victimwitness.html on the Internet.
Additionally, if you believe you are a victim of this crime, the United States Attorney's Office recommends that you take steps to protect yourself from financial loss if you have not done so already. The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") in Washington has the lead role in protecting consumers from identity theft crimes and other frauds. The FTC's website, www.ftc.gov/idtheft, is dedicated to providing information on identity theft. The FTC's online complaint form will allow you to enter the details of your identity theft. By providing that information, you can help in our pursuit of this case. We also strongly recommend that you contact the credit bureaus to request a fraud alert on your credit files. An alert will notify would be creditors that your information has been breached and require them to take additional steps to verify any request for credit. You can reach the credit bureaus as follows:
- Equifax www.equifax.com (866) 766-0008
- TransUnion www.transunion.com (800) 680-7289
- Experian www.experian.com (888) 397-3742
Please note that the FTC and credit bureau websites also provide additional information that may be pertinent to your situation.
The charges contained in the indictment and complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Yusill Scribner, Rebekah Carmichael, Janice Oh
U.S. Attorney's Office, Public Information Office