UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. -- Federal authorities credit Upper Saddle River police with helping smash a ring that they said used stolen identities to order smartphones and other electronic goods, then paid delivery drivers to divert the parcels to them.
The cross-country scheme compromised the identities of hundreds of residents in municipalities throughout several states and caused more than $1 million in losses to a victimized cell company, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick for the District of New Jersey said.
Eight of those accused were arrested Wednesday morning and later brought before judges -- including Kindley Michel, 36, of Spring Valley, whose appearance was in U.S. District Court in Newark.
Three still remained at large Wednesday afternoon -- among them, Jermaine "Budds" Wilson, 32, of Nanuet, Fitzpatrick announced.
Others were arrested and brought before federal judges in Miami, Hartford and Raleigh, NC, he said.
All 11 defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and transport stolen goods in interstate commerce.
According to Fitzpatrick, the crew pulled off the thefts for more than two years before federal investigators smashed the operation this past June.
"Members of the conspiracy used stolen personal identifiers and debit and credit card information to place orders with the victim company" through two cellphones, the U.S. attorney said.
Afterwards, he said, ring members "transmitted anticipated delivery dates and locations of the fraudulently-ordered products to other conspirators who were employed as drivers with a major parcel delivery company."
The drier "were paid to divert the products mid-delivery to other members of the conspiracy," Fitzpatrick said. "Proceeds were shared by wire transfer or depositing the funds in designated bank accounts.
The U.S. attorney credited special agents of the FBI, with cracking the case.
Besides Upper Saddle River police, Fitzpatrick thanked the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the NYPD, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the West Hartford Police Department and the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office for their assistance.
Representing the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Sammi Malek of Fitzpatrick's General Crimes Unit in Newark.
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