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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2016

DA VANCE: COUNTERFEIT CHECK SCAMMERS INDICTED FOR STEALING MORE THAN $100,000 FROM BANK CUSTOMERS

Defendants Preyed on Non-Native English Speaking Bank Customers and Members of Immigrant Communities

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of ANTOINE ANTHONY, 27, and JOSHUA PADILLA, 22, for stealing more than $100,000 through a counterfeit check scheme affecting more than 140 Citibank customers, most of whom were immigrant New Yorkers. The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Robbery in the Second and Third Degrees, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, among other charges.[1]

“Especially during the holiday season, identity thieves and financial fraudsters will not hesitate to take advantage of a victim’s good will,” said District Attorney Vance. “As alleged in the indictment, the defendants exploited their victims’ kindness and connection to their community in order to steal tens of thousands of dollars through a scheme that—to its victims—initially seemed like a harmless favor for a stranger. Immigrant communities, in particular, remain vulnerable to scams and fraud. I encourage anyone who believes that he or she may have been the victim of a crime to call my Office’s Immigrant Affairs Unit Hotline at 212-335-3600, regardless of immigration status.”

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, between May and October 2016, ANTHONY and PADILLA stole tens of thousands of dollars from their victims through a scheme involving counterfeit checks and fraudulent account withdrawals. As part of the scheme, the defendants, posing as bank customers, stood near ATM service stations in Citibank branch lobbies. The defendants, under the pretense of experiencing technical difficulties while depositing checks into their own accounts, solicited assistance from nearby bank customers, many of whom were non-native English speakers. Specifically, ANTHONY and PADILLA asked their victims to deposit the checks into victims’ personal accounts; withdraw the corresponding amount of the check; and provide the cash to the defendants. However, the defendants’ checks—which typically ranged from $800 to $900—were later determined to be counterfeit, leaving the victims responsible to repay the bank for any funds withdrawn. 

In total, ANTHONY and PADILLA made fraudulent deposits of more than $170,000 and withdrew approximately $100,000 from more than 140 victims’ accounts. 

Manhattan District Attorney’s Immigrant Affairs Unit

The Immigrant Affairs Unit was specially established to prosecute crimes committed against immigrants and members of Manhattan’s immigrant communities. Regardless of immigration status, individuals who believe that they have been the victim of a crime may make complaints through the Immigrant Affairs Unit Hotline at 212-335-3600. To date, the hotline has received more than 4,000 complaints in over 30 different languages, which are handled by a multilingual staff dedicated to providing victim assistance. 

Assistant District Attorney Robert Shull is handling the prosecution of the case, with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Kelli Clancy, and under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Roper and Jeremy Glickman, Deputy Chiefs of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Brenda Fischer, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael R. Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Cybercrime Analysts George Bishai and Jovanni Rodriguez provided additional assistance with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance also thanked Detective Sean Hayes, of the NYPD Grand Larceny Division, for his assistance with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

ANTOINE ANTHONY, D.O.B. 2/23/1989

Brooklyn, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
  • Robbery in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 3 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 64 counts
  • Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, 65 counts

JOSHUA PADILLA, D.O.B. 4/20/1994

Brooklyn, NY

Charged:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Robbery in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
  • Robbery in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
  • Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 3 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 113 counts
  • Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, 136 counts