Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the sentencing of TRACEY NELSON, 25, to 6-to-18 years in prison for her role in an organized identity theft and financial crime ring that relied on corrupt employees at banks, a non-profit institution, a high-end car dealership, and a real estate management company to steal and traffic in the names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers, and financial account information of unsuspecting victims. The conspirators used the stolen information to conduct fraudulent financial transactions with the victims’ identities.
NELSON was one of the principal defendants in an 18-month investigation that led to the indictment of 55 defendants for stealing the identities of more than 200 individuals and organizations, and more than $2 million from financial institutions, including JP Morgan Chase Bank, TD Bank, Citibank, Discover, and American Express. Further investigation, both during and after the indictment, revealed the compromise of thousands of additional victim’s personal identifying information. On October 5, 2012, NELSON pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the First, Second, and Third Degrees, and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree.
“If there was any doubt that identity theft is a serious crime, today’s sentence removes it,” said District Attorney Vance. “When individuals abuse a position of trust for personal gain, they cause financial damage to banks and deprive victims of their good credit, their time, and their peace of mind. My Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau is committed to long term investigations that lead to the prosecution of insiders and those who work with them.”
According to the NELSON’s guilty plea, documents filed in court, and statements made on the record in court, NELSON acted as one of the criminal organization’s “insiders” who stole the personal identifying information of hundreds of donors. She was employed by the United Jewish Appeal-Federation (UJA) for three years, and had access to donor information at UJA in her position as an Operations, Production and Reporting Representative. Her duties and responsibilities included the processing of donations made to UJA by both check and credit card. In addition to the hundreds of victims whose personal identifying information was stolen by NELSON and captured during the course of our investigation, a search warrant executed at her home on the date of her arrest revealed hundreds of copies of checks and credit card numbers of donors to UJA.
NELSON sold the stolen information to other defendants, who in turn used that information to steal the victims’ identities and conduct fraudulent financial transactions. The fraudulent financial transactions included counterfeit check schemes and using the stolen information to access the victims’ bank accounts to steal money via telephone transfers or on-line wire transfers. The defendants also used the stolen personal identifying information to engage in credit card account takeovers, in which they assumed the identities of legitimate credit card account holders to order replacement credit cards from the credit card companies, and then used these wrongfully obtained credit cards for their personal use and to purchase merchandise for resale.
Assistant District Attorney Beth Potashnick handled the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau; Assistant District Attorney Patricia O’Connor, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Kaufmann, Chief of the Investigation Division.
TRACEY NELSON, D.O.B. 6/13/1987
Brooklyn, New York
• Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D Felony, 2 counts
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• 6-to-18 years in prison