.

DA: Lindy Man Ran Credit Card, Identity Theft Ring From Bedroom

Hundreds of people reportedly had their identities stolen during the scheme.

District Attorney Thomas Spota shows off a forged credit card used by a three men busted in an investigation by the DA's office. Credit: Scott Moore.
District Attorney Thomas Spota shows off a forged credit card used by a three men busted in an investigation by the DA's office. Credit: Scott Moore.
A Lindenhurst man and two other men have been charged with multiple counts of identity theft and possession of stolen property after the Suffolk County District Attorney's office unveiled a car-selling operation that involved forged credit and identity cards.

District Attoney Thomas Spota said the ring had its origins out of Lindenhurst where Jason Gonzalez, a 23 year old, lived with his parents on North Queens Avenue.

It was there, Spota said, that Gonzalez ran a identity theft ring out of his bedroom, using equipment to forge credit cards, driver's licenses and more using real information he and two other men had stolen from victims.

"This is just a scheme to get quick money," Spota said during a press conference Wednesday. "I don't know how his parents didn't know."

Gonzalez and two other men, Jose Lopez, 29, of Bay Shore, and Felix Sanchez, 29, of Brentwood, used their stolen information to rent expensive, late-model cars from rental companies such as Avis, Enterprise and Hertz near major airports over multiple weeks. After renting the cars, the men would allegedly resell the cars within the week for dramatically lower prices, such as a 2012 Mercedes Benz sedan for only $3,000.

"Many of these cars had significant resale value," Spota said. "We were able to purchase some of these cars that had a [total] estimated retail value of $245,000. The total amount we paid was only $22,800."

The low price, Spota said, came as the men looked to quickly sell their stolen cars for quick cash.

In order to complete the scheme, the men used skimmers to steal information from credit cards at a retail store. After "skimming" the legitimate information, Gonzalez, Lopez and Sanchez allegedly used their credit card and identity card equipment to create new cards. They would later rent the cars, as well as selling the cards to others to be used for purchases.

The men would also used an off-shore website to purchase identity information to create some of their forged cards.

A major unidentified retailer seemed to be a source for most of stolen information, Spota said, and they were cooperating with the investigation. Spota said he would not name the retailer, but said they operated many stores across Suffolk County.

Officials from the district attorney's office said there were "hundreds" of victims in this scheme, most from Long Island. Many of the faked licenses were made in the style of Connecticut's because it would be easier than trying to fake New York State's, which feature multiple ways of preventing counterfeits. 

"This shows us... the dangers that lurk out there," Spota said.

Spota said investigators were led to the scheme after a drug arrest earlier this year when a Holbrook man, Kenneth Godfrey, 47, was arrested for selling drugs to an undercover officer. Godfrey allegedly worked with the other three men selling drugs, but did not take part in the forgery ring. 

Spota said more arrests could be imminent as the investigation continues.

Gonazlez was charged with 13 counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, six counts of Unlawful Possession of Personal Identifying Information in the Third Degree and five counts of Criminal Possession of a Forgery Device.

Lopez was charged with nine counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree along with eight other charges relating to the crime. Sanchez was charged with seven counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, four counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree and three counts of Unlawful Possession of Personal Identifying Information in the Third Degree.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something