ANOTHER CVP SCOOP: A pair of accused thieves ran an operation that created bogus credit cards using information from nearly six dozen mortgage and refinancing applicants to buy more than $150,000 worth of goods at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Sears and other stores, which were then resold in New York City, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow to announce 11 arrests, made possible by a multi-jurisdictional Identity Theft Task Force under the direction of Chief Steven Cucciniello, the prosecutor’s chief of detectives ( SEE BELOW ).
The loss totals may increase as additional victims come forward or are discovered, Molinelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.
“There were two people on the inside who gave the information to outsiders who then took the credit authorization and generated credit cards,” the prosecutor said.
Beginning last year, 30 or so police departments received identity theft complaints. Detectives in Saddle Brook began investigating and then contacted the prosecutor’s office, getting the task force ball rolling, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
At the head of the operation, Molinelli said, was 32-year-old Shontera Nicole Jennings, who he said bought personal finance information from Kyle Davis, 48 ( above, top ), an employee of C. Marino Records, a Paterson company that archived customer files for NJ Lenders Corportation.
NJ Lenders cooperated fully with the investigation, dubbed “Operation Unauthorized User,” which determined that the victims “had recently refinanced or applied for mortgages” through the company, the prosecutor said.
Jennings ( above, bottom ) applied for an obtained credit cards created with the victims’ information and then recruited “unauthorized buyers” to use the numbers on those cards, he said.
Detectives from the police departments obtained records and began interviewing potential witnesses, Molinelli said. They also reviewed surveillance video from the various stores that showed the purchasers in action, he said.
Using the “Account Look-Up” method, the buyers accessed the victims’ credit accounts and then showed a driver’s license or other photo ID to prove they were listed on those accounts, Molinelli said.
Some of the victims went to police after receiving bills from, among others, Comenity Bank (which services Annie Sez, Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant and other stores), Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks 5th Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Sears, and more, the prosecutor said.
Others received mail from the stores congratulating them on new accounts they hadn’t opened.
Yesterday, investigators executed 11 arrest warrants and five search warrants involving Jennings, Davis and the accused unauthorized buyers. Others were arrested earlier today.
All were ordered held on $300,000 bail each in the Bergen County Jail, charged with trafficking in personal identification, theft and conspiracy.
Molinelli thanked the following departments for their participation in the multi-jurisdictional task force:
• Bernards Township Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Brian Bobowicz
• Chester Township Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Wayne Martini
• Englewood Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Arthur O’Keefe
• Franklin Lakes Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Joseph Seltenrich
• Ho-Ho-Kus Police Department under the direction of Police Chief John Wanamaker
• Midland Park Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Michael Marra
• Montvale Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Jeremy Abrams
• Morris County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief of Detectives John R. Speirs
• North Haledon Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Robert Bracco
• Paterson Police Department under the direction of Police Chief William Fraher
• Saddle Brook Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Robert J. Kugler
• Saddle River Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Timothy McWilliams
• Upper Saddle River Police Department under the direction of Police Chief Patrick Rotella
CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia contributed to this report and took the photo of Prosecutor Molinelli, with Chief Cuccinello, above
Kyle A. Davis, 48, Paterson
Shontera Nicole Jennings, 32, Paterson
Lakia L. “Kia” Thomas, 34, Paterson
Angel M. Leary, 35, Paterson
Mark Gordon, 43, Paterson
Jannelle F. Fields, 35, Waterboro, SC
Randolph Grant Jr., 36, Paterson
Judy Broadnax, 47, Paterson
Oliver J. Hall, 40, Paterson
June W. Mattiex, 55, Wayne
Danisha L. Greene, 35, Paterson
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