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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
November 18, 2011

DA VANCE: MAJOR FORGED CREDIT CARD RING INDICTED FOR ENTERPRISE CORRUPTION

Investigation Shuts Down Fake Credit Card Factory and Seizes Millions in Cash and High-End Goods

Criminal Scheme Recruited Waiters at High-End Restaurants and Shoppers at Luxury Retail Stores

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, and Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge (ASAC) of Investigations for the United States Secret Service New York Field Office Paul Mahon, today announced the indictments of 28 individuals in connection with an organized criminal credit card forgery and larceny operation. Using credit card skimming devices, the defendants stole the account numbers and credit card data of at least 50 American Express account holders, and used this information to create counterfeit credit cards to purchase goods for their own use and to resell for profit. The defendants are charged in two indictments on 172 counts including Enterprise Corruption, Conspiracy, and Grand Larceny, among other felony charges.[1]  The crimes charged in the indictments occurred between April 2010 and November 2011. The investigation is continuing.

“The high-end targets of this case make it notable, but disturbingly this case is far from unique,” said District Attorney Vance. “Every day, hardworking New Yorkers find themselves the victims of identity theft - their financial information stolen from ATMs, from internet transactions, from financial institutions and from retailers. It can take often take years to have their credit restored. My Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to dismantle criminal rings that attempt to use technology to circumvent the law.”

Police Commissioner Kelly said: “The suspects in this credit card fraud case thought that they flew low on law enforcement's radar, but NYPD detectives working with the U.S. Secret Service and Manhattan District Attorney’s office were able to trace the crew of steakhouse waiters who skimmed victims' information to the buyers who ordered high-end luxury items for complicit clients. These criminals were careful, but as it turned out, not nearly careful enough.”

ASAC Mahon said: “These types of crimes not only impact consumers and businesses in our community, but can erode the public’s confidence in the nation’s financial payment systems.  This successful outcome is a testament of our agency’s commitment to interagency collaboration.”

New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz said:
“Unfortunately, identity theft is an all too common occurrence, with an estimated 10 million Americans across the country falling victim every year, often not even knowing it. DCA inspectors conduct hundreds of inspections to insure that retailers comply with local laws requiring that only the last five numbers of consumers’ credit cards get printed on receipts, and each year the Department hosts Shred Fest at multiple sites throughout the City to help New Yorkers shred their documents containing the kind of personal information ID thieves use. I applaud DA Vance and his team, as well as the Police Department, for their terrific pursuit, arrest, and indictment of this credit card forgery ring.”

The indictments and arrests are the culmination of an 18-month investigation, which utilized court-ordered eavesdropping and video surveillance, physical surveillance, computer forensics, and extensive analysis of credit card, banking and phone records. 

According to the indictment, LUIS DAMIAN JACAS, a/k/a DAMIEN JACES, a/k/a “DJ,” is the director of the criminal enterprise who oversaw and managed all aspects of the criminal operation.  Members and associates of the criminal enterprise performed multiple roles depending upon the needs of the enterprise as determined by JACAS. Over time, new members were recruited into the criminal enterprise in order to supplement and, in some cases, replace former members of the enterprise. In addition to JACAS, the criminal enterprise consisted of members and associates who engaged in the roles of “manager,” “skimmer,” and “shopper.” Often, they sold merchandise to individuals who acted as “complicit customers.”

Skimmers

Members of the criminal organization recruited waiters in high-end restaurants to work as “skimmers.” The restaurants included Smith & Wollensky, The Capital Grille, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, and JoJo, all in Manhattan, as well as Morton’s in Stamford, Connecticut, and The Bicycle Club in New Jersey.

Each restaurant workers was given small electronic devices called “skimmers” to surreptitiously record an unsuspecting customer’s credit card information from the magnetic stripe on the customer’s card.  The defendants charged with acting as skimmers for the criminal enterprise were DANIEL BURNS, JENNIFER MORGAN, PETER MCGUIRE, SASHA SCOLLIN, BRIAN TORREY, JAMES O’CONNELL, and KENNETH FRANQUIZ.

According to documents filed in court, after the stolen credit card data was collected on the skimming devices, it was returned either directly to JACAS or to another manager who would then turn it over to JACAS.  JACAS is accused of encoding the information onto credit card “stock” – or blank plastic credit card forms – to replicate the credit cards. The newly encoded cards were embossed with the names and account numbers of the authentic card holders. The forged credit cards were then used by a network of shoppers to purchase merchandise and services. Frequently, the shoppers who used the forged credit cards to purchase merchandise also possessed forged driver’s licenses, also in the name of the authentic card holders. American Express card holders were not responsible for the losses incurred as a result of this scheme.

The equipment necessary to create forged credit cards and identification cards consisted of skimming devices, computers, embossers, encoders, tippers, printers, blank credit card stock, and the artwork used to copy authentic credit cards. According to documents filed in court, JACAS regularly directed BURNS, BLUMENFRUCHT, and BERTELETTI to purchase equipment necessary for the manufacture of the forged credit cards. FERNANDEZ provided technological, computer, and other assistance to JACAS for the creation of forged instruments. Since July 2011, JACAS has stored the equipment necessary to make forged credit cards and driver’s licenses in the apartment of TASHA ROSENHAUS, located in Manhattan.

Shoppers & Managers

The shoppers were tasked with actually using the stolen identities, fake credit cards, and fake driver’s licenses to obtain luxury items from high-end merchants. Charged shoppers for the criminal enterprise were DANIEL BURNS, EDDIE KYLE, MICHAEL DEJESUS, JACOB BLUMENFRUCHT, MARTHA RUBIANO, ANTHONY COFFAO, ANTHONY MARRA, RICHARD BERTELETTI, DAVOR GONCIN, and ANDREW POLLACK, a/k/a ANDREW PARKER.

During the shopping expeditions, the shoppers were often supervised by managers. The managers accompanied the shoppers to the retail locations, directed the shoppers to purchase certain merchandise, reviewed the fraudulently obtained merchandise to ensure that the shoppers purchased the correct items, and provided status updates to JACAS during the shopping expeditions. At the end of the shopping expeditions, the fraudulently obtained merchandise was either given directly to JACAS by the shopper, or given to the manager who would in turn transfer the merchandise to JACAS. Identified managers of this enterprise, who in some cases also acted as shoppers, were DANIEL BURNS, MARTHA RUBIANO, JACOB BLUMENFRUCHT, RICHARD BERTELETTI, and DAVOR GONCIN, and ANDREW POLLACK, a/k/a ANDREW PARKER.

The shoppers were directed to purchase watches, handbags, wallets, and other merchandise from high-end retail stores that would then be sold on behalf of the enterprise. Fraudulent purchases were made at such locations as Chanel, Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Hermes of Paris, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, Waldmann’s, London Jewelers, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Lord & Taylor, and Starbucks. Shopping trips occurred in Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, Florida, Westchester County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County.

Search warrants executed yesterday in conjunction with the investigation resulted in the seizure of luxury goods, including more than $1 million worth of luxury watches and a cache of expensive wine, and more $1.2 million in cash; as well as skimming devices and the equipment necessary to manufacture fraudulent credit cards and driver’s licenses.

Before being sold, the fraudulently-obtained merchandise was warehoused in a storage unit located at a Manhattan Mini Storage on East 62th Street. ERIC BRAHMS often assisted in the sale of the fraudulently obtained merchandise by introducing JACAS to other individuals, including ELLE CHONG ROZAN and RICHARD REICHBACH, who purchased the merchandise, for typically 50 percent of the retail price.

Complicit Customers

In addition to the merchandise that was fraudulently purchased in the regular course of business for the enterprise, the enterprise received orders for specific merchandise from “complicit customers.” Complicit customers were individuals who are charged with requesting merchandise knowing that the items would be purchased with forged credit cards. ERIC BRAHMS, EMILY BRUMFIELD BRAHMS, and IRWIN GUTMAN were regular customers of the criminal enterprise.  These customers, at times, also acted as fences, selling stolen property on the Internet.

Assistant District Attorneys Michael Sachs and Matthew Montana are handling 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 Kenn Kern, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Kaufmann, Chief of the Investigation Division. The following individuals also assisted in the investigation: Assistant District Attorney Amyjane Rettew, Counsel to the Investigation Division; Deputy Chief Investigator for Cybercrime Richard Brittson; Investigator Robert Muldoon and Investigative Analyst Erin Mulderig of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of John Bilich, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau. Cybercrime Analysts Bret Rubin and Mariangela Perrotta, and Selena Ley of the High Technology Analysis Unit, also assisted in the investigation. Assistant District Attorney Duncan Levin, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, and Assistant United States Attorney Karen Hennigan of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York are handling the asset forfeiture.

District Attorney Vance thanked Special Agent-in-Charge Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of Investigations Paul Mahon, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge Farrell Dolan, Lead Investigator Special Agent Christopher Marsh, and Special Agent Mark Norberg, all of the United States Secret Service’s New York Field Office. District Attorney Vance also thanked Police Commissioner Kelly and Detective Kenneth Baker of the New York City Police Department; the Westchester County Police Department and District Attorney’s Office; and the Hudson County, New Jersey, Prosecutors’ Office.


Defendant Information:

RICHARD BERTELETTI, D.O.B. 02/09/1975
Brooklyn, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E 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, 12 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 4 counts
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 5 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 14 counts

JACOB BLUMENFRUCHT, D.O.B. 03/05/1981
New York, NY

Charges: 
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E 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, 5 counts
• Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 4 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 6 counts

ERIC BRAHMS, D.O.B. 12/04/1967
New York, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 2 counts
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 4 counts

EMILY BRUMFIELD BRAHMS, D.O.B. 08/19/1981
New York, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 1 Count
• Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, a class A Misdemeanor, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 2 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 1 count

DANIEL BURNS, D.O.B. 07/25/1977
Winter Springs, FL

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 2 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D Felony, 9 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 14 counts
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 4 counts

ELLE CHONG ROZAN a/k/a ELOISE A. CHONG, D.O.B. 06/17/1966
New York, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, a class D Felony, 2 counts

ANTHONY COFFARO, D.O.B. 01/24/1965
Brooklyn, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 2 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D Felony, 5 counts
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 1 count

MICHAEL DEJESUS, D.O.B. 06/19/1981
Bronx, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E 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, 1 count

JOHN DOE a/k/a “JD SUNGLASSES, D.O.B. UNKNOWN
UNKNOWN

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E 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
• Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 2 counts

JOSE FELIX FERNANDEZ, D.O.B. 09/09/1969
New York, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 1 count

KENNETH FRANQUIZ, D.O.B. 09/02/1980
Bellmore, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count

DAVOR GONCIN, D.O.B. 03/19/1950
Queens, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E 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, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 5  counts

IZAK IRWIN GUTMAN, D.O.B. 10/10/1945
Brooklyn, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third Degree, class D Felony, 1 count

LUIS DAMIAN JACAS, a/k/a DAMIEN JACES, a/k/a “DJ”, D.O.B. 08/05/1970
New York, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 4 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D Felony, 37 counts
• Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class E Felony, 2 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 41 counts
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 11 counts
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 4 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, 38 counts

EDDIE KYLE, D.O.B. 02/23/1972
Manasas, Virginia

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E 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, 3 counts
Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony, 1 count

ANTHONY MARRA, D.O.B. 06/11/1982
Brooklyn, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E 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, 12 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 3 counts
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 3 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, 12 counts

PETER McGUIRE, D.O.B. 06/04/1970
Pearl River, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E 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, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 5 counts
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 1 count

JENNIFER MORGAN, D.O.B. 04/07/1987
New York, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 2 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 8 counts
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 1 count

JAMES O’CONNELL, D.O.B. 04/29/1967
Pine Bush, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count

ANDREW POLLACK, a/k/a ANDREW PARKER, D.O.B. 09/10/1969
New York, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E 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, 8 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 2 counts
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 5 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, 13 counts

RICHARD REICHBACH, D.O.B. 10/09/1982
New York, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony,
1 count


TASHA ROSENHAUS, D.O.B. 02/18/1980
New York, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, 2 counts
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 1 count

MARTHA RUBIANO, D.O.B. 05/01/1968
Weehawken, NJ

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E 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, 8 counts
• Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Petit Larceny, a class A Misdemeanor, 2 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, 1 count

SASHA SCOLLIN, D.O.B. 03/29/1975
Queens, NY

Charges:
• Enterprise Corruption, a class B Felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C Felony, 2 counts
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 7 counts
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D Felony, 1 count

BRIAN TORREY, D.O.B. 08/08/1977
Bronxville, NY

Charges:
• Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E Felony, 1 count

[1] The charges contained in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

See video of press conference.