A corporate identity theft ring that exploited the identities of local corporations, religious institutions, hospitals and even schools to run a cheque fraud scam has been busted in New York.
Investigators reckon the gang of 18 suspects made millions by impersonating workers from an estimated 350 New York-based organisations. Data purchased from corrupt bank insiders was used to lay the groundwork for the scam, which relied on cashing thousands of counterfeit payroll cheques. The fraudsters also plundered the bank accounts of individual victims, using data obtained from corrupt bank insiders to transfer funds to banks under the control of the gang.
Mules were recruited as payees on the counterfeit cheques, which were forged using scanners, cheque stock, magnetic ink, company logos and specialist software. The scam ran between October 2007 and February 2009. One bank alone lost $1.4m through the scam.
The gang was led by alleged masterminds Jasper Grayson, 25, and James Malloy, 26, according to an indictment unsealed this week. Renece Razor, a former teller at a JP Morgan Chase Bank branch in Manhattan, Ilaura Walker, a former worker at a TD Bank branch in Manhattan, and Keisha Polonio, a former clerk at an HSBC Bank branch in the Bronx, are all charged with stealing the personal data of identity theft victims before supplying the details to other members of the gang.
Police are investigating the possible involvement of other suspected bank workers in the scam as part of the ongoing investigation. ®