A.G. Schneiderman Announces Prison Terms For Identity Thieves Who Targeted Bank Customers In Westchester, NYC & Long Island
Defendant Tyrone Lee Sentenced to 4 ½ To 9 Years In Prison And Defendant Anthony Davis Sentenced to 2 To 6 Years In Prison For Stealing Over $850,000 From Personal Accounts Of Hundreds Of Innocent Customers
Schneiderman: Those Who Steal New Yorkers’ Personal Financial Information Will Pay A Steep Price
WESTCHESTER — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced prison sentences for Tyrone “Reece” Lee, 28, and Anthony “Sug” Davis, 29, both of the Bronx, who had previously pleaded guilty to participating in a brazen identity-theft ring that targeted customers of local banks. The ring stole over $850,000 by using bank tellers to fraudulently obtain the personal information of hundreds of unsuspecting customers, and then creating fake identification cards to withdraw money from the accounts.
“Today’s prison sentences show that those who steal New Yorkers’ personal financial information will pay a steep price,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will do all we can to protect innocent businesses and their customers from the growing threat of identity theft.”
Lee, who was the scheme’s ringleader, was sentenced today by the Honorable Justice Barry E. Warhit in Westchester County Criminal Court, to four and a half to nine years in state prison. Lee previously pleaded guilty before Justice Warhit to the entire 37-count indictment against him, including two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a class C felony), 11 counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class D felony), 18 counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree (a Class D felony), three counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (a Class D felony), and three counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a Class E felony).
Davis, who was the scheme’s fraudulent document maker, was sentenced by Justice Warhit to two to six years in state prison. Davis had also previously pleaded guilty before Justice Warhit to one count of Identity Theft in the First Degree (a Class D felony) and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a Class E felony). Davis is currently serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison on a federal identify theft case.
This identify-theft ring operated between July 2010 and June 2014. Corrupt bank tellers fraudulently accessed and stole personal information, including account numbers and Social Security numbers, from hundreds of customers at Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, TD Bank and Wachovia in Westchester and New York City.
Lee orchestrated the hiring of corrupt bank tellers at Westchester and New York City-area banks. He directed the bank tellers to target customers with common names and over $50,000 in their accounts. After the customer information was smuggled to him, Lee conspired with Davis to create fraudulent checks and identification documents using the stolen customer information. Lee arranged for other ring members to impersonate bank account holders to withdraw money at area banks.
Davis created an array of fake documents using the stolen personal and financial data, including forged checks and driver’s licenses that contained victims’ personal information, but displayed the photographs of other ring members. These fake documents were then used to impersonate the account holders and to withdraw money at bank branches in Westchester County, New York City and Long Island, as well as Connecticut and Massachusetts.
This prosecution was the culmination of a long-term investigation by the Attorney General’s Crime Proceeds Strike Force, including court-authorized wiretaps and search warrants. In intercepted telephone calls and text messages, co-conspirators spoke in code about customer accounts, which they referred to as “joints,” and to the “bands” of money they would steal, referring to $1000 stacks of cash. They also used code names to refer to the banks they targeted, including “touchdown” for TD Bank and “Yase” for JP Morgan Chase.
The three bank tellers who conspired with Davis and Lee in this scheme have also been convicted. Kalika Arline, Venise Cole and Nadia Figueroa have all pleaded guilty to their roles in the ring.
Among the New York bank branches whose customers were victimized by this identify theft ring are:
Bank of America: 206 Main Street, White Plains, NY;
JP Morgan Chase: 235 Main Street, White Plains, NY;
JP Morgan Chase: 410 South Broadway, Yonkers, NY;
JP Morgan Chase: 5 West Burnside Avenue, Bronx, NY;
HSBC: 1 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY;
Bank of America: 50 West Fordham Road, Bronx, NY;
Bank of America: 479 North Broadway, Jericho, NY; and
Wachovia (now Wells Fargo): 43 North Plank Road, Newburgh, NY
Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the New York State Department of Financial Services and the White Plains Police Department for their assistance in this matter.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Tyler Reynolds and Rhonda Greenstein of the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crime Bureau. The bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chiefs Meryl Lutsky and Stephanie Swenton. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.
The investigation was conducted by Legal Support Analyst Theo Davidson, Investigators Steve Pratt, Vincent Gisonti, Sylvia Rivera, Israel Hernandez, Ryan Fannon and Dave Negron and Larry Riccio, Senior Investigator Dennis Maddalone, Supervising Investigator John Sullivan, and Deputy Chief Investigators John McManus and Greg Stasiuk. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.