NEW YORK (Reuters)- Six members of a large-scale identity theft and cybercrime gang were indicted on Thursday for stealing over $1 million from at least 80 clients of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said.
According to the 148-count indictment, members of the crime ring, which operated between 2009 and February 2011, picked the pockets of victims or used their positions as J.P. Morgan Chase Bank employees to search for personal information from the bank’s system in order to withdraw funds from the accounts of unwitting clients.
In some instances, suspect Jamaluddin Almahdi, 66, conducted searches about the victims and their financial situation through popular websites such as annualcreditreport.com by impersonating the victim, the indictment said.
Richard Dames, 33, is accused of using information provided by the other defendants to open credit cards in the victims’ names to buy expensive items such as electronics.
“Over the course of two years, accused criminals and corrupt bank employees colluded to defraud J.P. Morgan Chase,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.
“The ring both pickpocketed these victims on the street and colluded with the bank employees, to steal personal identification that in turn enabled the criminal organization to withdraw significant funds from bank branches from New York to Texas and Michigan,” he said.
During an April search of the home of Almahdi, NYPD detectives uncovered hundreds of stolen documents including social security cards and credit cards belonging to over 100 people, the indictment said.
All six suspects face multiple charges including grand larceny, identity theft and conspiracy. Two suspects, Ricky McCants, 30 and Kia Wylie, 30, face computer trespass charges. Both have been fired from J.P. Morgan, as has a third co-conspirator, Wayne Mitchell, 42.
All the suspects face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
Editing by Jerry Norton