13 People Indicted on 263 Counts of Fraud Related Crimes: 18 Month Investigation Between Brooklyn DA and Secret Service

After correctly speculating as to some of the possible charges, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has issued a press release regarding today’s announcement that 13 people have been indicted for a wide ranging criminal enterprise that spanned states and countries. As I have noted in the past, criminal defense lawyers in New York are seeing more and more of these types of crimes being swept up in large scale investigations. This certainly will not be the last of such investigations and prosecutions.

According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office:

“The first indictment, containing 164 counts including Enterprise Corruption, charges four defendants – Ryan Foster, Nathaniel Mahone, Jacques Sylvestre, and Yanira Santiago – with operating a credit-card fraud and identity theft ring, which at times netted as much as $10,000 per day, between 2006 and 2008. They are charged with purchasing credit card numbers from private Internet sites in Russia and the Ukraine and using the information to manufacture fake credit cards in various Brooklyn sites they called the “lab”. Then the defendants sent hired “shoppers” to stores, such as Game Stop, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Zales, Louis Vuitton and Ford’s Jewelers, where they would purchase items the ringleaders would later sell, according to the indictment.”

“The Enterprise Corruption indictment also charges the defendants with purchasing properties through mortgage fraud and using the merchandise stolen from home improvement stores, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, to increase the values of the homes. The properties could then be re-appraised at higher values, and the defendants could get the mortgages refinanced, according to the indictment. Another aspect of the scheme involved orchestrating fraudulent purchases and sales of the properties, by employing straw buyers and using crooked real estate brokers and loan officers to help them file false paperwork.”

“In a second, 97-count indictment, Foster, Mahone, Sylvestre and nine others are charged with conspiring to make false accident, vandalism and theft claims on late-model luxury cars, such as BMW, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes Benz and Cadillac. The indictment charges that the defendants would remove undamaged interior parts, such as air bags, dash boards, door panels and seats, and replace them with damaged parts. Then they would report to police that the cars had been vandalized near their homes and file claims with their insurance companies to have the damaged car parts replaced, according to the indictment. The investigation revealed that the same damaged car parts were recycled and used repeatedly in separate claims. The defendants are also charged with staging accidents and car thefts to collect insurance payments.”

“In the third indictment, Sylvestre is charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, relating to a handgun found in his home during the execution of a search warrant in October 2008. ”

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