No Oliver Twists in Pickpocket Crew: Manhattan DA Announces 639 Count Grand Larceny and Identity Theft Indictment

He may have loved the book, theatrical performance or even the movie, but Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau is not a fan of real life Oliver Twists. According to reports, the New York County District Attorney’s Office unsealed a 639 count indictment involving the arrests of 15 alleged pickpocket crew members. The defendants, including Arthur Franklin, Jospeh Simms, Vincent Franklin, James Mannix, Kathleen Miller, Carol Dibitetto, Larry Ford, Kandra Lysland, Tina Barboza, Mary Bennett and Yvonne Harris are alleged to have stolen over $600,000 and compromised at least 60 bank accounts. The 639 count indictment includes numerous felonies such as Grand Larceny, Identity Theft, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, Conspiracy, Scheme to Defraud, Attempted Grand Larceny, Forgery and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. It is interesting to note that prosecutors did not charge the defendants with Enterprise Corruption. While there could be numerous reasons, it is possible that the crew had no ascertainable structure, but was alleged to be more consistent with a loose knit band of thieves. Regardless, the scheme is purported to have operated for at least one year before the arrests and indictments.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, vigilant investigators at Chase Bank reviewed video surveillance of fraudulent transactions and noticed a common theme of women wearing wigs and glasses. Further investigation revealed that Arthur Franklin, Vincent Franklin and Joseph Simms were present either inside or outside the bank when the transactions occurred. Chase Bank put the dots together when they learned that many of the victims of the fraudulent bank transactions were also victims of pickpockets.

More than merely a pickpocketing crew that made a quick buck, some of the defendants are alleged to have worked at a Pennsylvania collections agency where victims’ personal information including addresses, social security numbers and dates of birth were harvested and provided to other defendants. With this information, the defendant then conducted their fraudulent transactions. At times, the defendants are alleged to have created fake identifications to appear as if they were in rightful owners of the accounts. All in, the defendants are accused of stealing $600,000 of which $74,000 in cash was recovered in a search warrant along with 200 stolen credit cards in another search warrant.

The defendants have been indicted on various charges, including Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, Identity Theft in the Second Degree, Attempted Identity Theft in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, Forgery in the Second Degree, Petit Larceny, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree and Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fifth Degree.

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is a class C felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Identity Theft in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Forgery in the Second Degree are class D felonies, which are punishable by up to 7 years in prison. Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, Identity Theft in the Second Degree, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree are class E felonies, which are punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

Crotty Saland PC is a New York based criminal defense firm representing clients throughout the metropolitan area. The two principals, Elizabeth Crotty and Jeremy Saland, have extensive experience as both criminal defense attorneys and as former Manhattan prosecutors having served in the Special Prosecutions Bureau and Identity Theft Unit respectively.

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