TRENTON – Two Hudson County men have been indicted for their alleged roles in an identity theft and insurance fraud scam, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced Monday.
According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, Remny Gomez, 23, of West New York, was charged Friday with second-degree theft of identity, as well as trafficking in personal identifying information, insurance fraud, attempted theft by deception, receiving stolen property, and two counts of theft by deception (all in the third degree). William Collado, 27, also of West New York, was charged with third-degree insurance fraud.
The Union County grand jury indictment alleges that between Feb. 16 and March 13, 2008, Gomez fraudulently used other people’s personal identifying information to commit insurance fraud and to make credit card purchases without their authorization.
Gomez was arrested on March 13, 2008 while allegedly attempting to use a $100 gift card to purchase an $850 computer in a Walmart in Secaucus. A vigilant check-out clerk noticed that the account numbers on the check-out slip did not match the numbers on the gift card. Further investigation revealed that Gomez allegedly possessed a number of credit cards that had been “re-encoded.” These are credit cards where another account number has been stolen and then used to overwrite the information on the magnetic strip on the back of the card using a computer and some additional equipment.
Specifically, it is alleged that Gomez fraudulently possessed the following documents:
- A New Jersey driver’s license of another person. (Gomez allegedly used this personal identifying information to obtain automobile insurance in Pennsylvania for a stolen 2003 BMW 745 with the Infinity Insurance Group of Dallas, Texas, and in New Jersey for a 1998 Lexus GS300 with the IFA Insurance Agency in Clark);
- A Commerce Bank Visa Debit card and an All Access Gift credit card, both containing the personal identifying information of other persons without their authorization;
- A Bank of America Visa card and a re-encoded Carver Federal Savings Bank credit card without the owner’s authorization;
- Two PNC Visa Check Cards, a re-encoded U.S. Bank National Association credit card, and a re-encoded Commerce Bank Credit card, without the owners’ authorization; and
- A Best Buy Reward Zone MasterCard and a re-encoded Citibank credit card without the owner’s authorization.
The indictment also alleges that Gomez used the fraudulent credit and debit cards to make more than $4,300 worth of purchases.
The indictment alleges that Gomez was in possession of the stolen BMW 745, valued in excess of $30,000, which he fraudulently insured knowing that it had been stolen.
It is alleged that William Collado assisted Gomez in using the personal identifying information of another in an electronic application for the purpose of obtaining automobile insurance in New Jersey for the 1998 Lexus GS300 with the IFA Insurance Agency in Clark, including the other person’s driver’s license number, date of birth and address, without the knowledge or authorization of the victim.
The insurance fraud was allegedly committed by Gomez and Collado working together to insure vehicles in the name of an innocent victim. The alleged fraud was discovered when the victim received insurance documents in the mail concerning a vehicle she had never purchased or insured and reported the incident to the police.
The indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000, while crimes of the third degree carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of $15,000.
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