11/2/2009
09:53 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary

Manhattan DA Announces Major ID Theft Indictment

A Manhattan DA brought an 149-count indictment accusing a computer technician of stealing the identities of more than 150 employees of the Bank of New York Mellon and using those identities to orchestrate more than $1.1 million in thefts against charities and non-profits, among other institutions.



A Manhattan DA brought an 149-count indictment accusing a computer technician of stealing the identities of more than 150 employees of the Bank of New York Mellon and using those identities to orchestrate more than $1.1 million in thefts against charities and non-profits, among other institutions.The changes against the defendant, a 27 year old from Brooklyn, include grand larceny, identity theft, money laundering, scheme to defraud, computer tampering, and unlawful possession of personal identification information.

What is particularly disturbing in this case is the length of time, from November 1, 2001 to April 30, 2009, that the crimes were allegedly underway -- almost 8 years.

According to this announcement from the Manhattan DA's office, the defendant, in his job as a computer tech, stole the personal identifying information of dozens of Bank of New York employees, mainly in the IT department.

The defendant used that information to open more than 30 bank and brokerage accounts in the names of the stolen employee identities with several financial institutions, including E*Trade, Fidelity, Citi, Wachovia, and Washington Mutual, the DA says. And it's within those accounts, the DA alleges, where stolen funds were deposited.

The accused also purportedly stole from the Bank of New York employees themselves. Exploiting his theft of their personal identification information, the defendant changed the contact information associated with the employees' online banking profiles, took control of their online banking capabilities, and wired money from the employees' personal bank accounts to dummy accounts he had established.

Unfortunately, there's no information in the details released so far on how the defendant allegedly lifted the personal information of other bank employees. So there's no way to tell if any type of data leak protection, access, or database monitoring tools would have helped the bank to spot the theft. According to the DA's office, the defendant came under surveillance by the New York/New Jersey Electronic Crimes Task Force of the United States Secret Service when suspicious Internet activity traced back to wireless Internet connections in his apartment build¬ing, and mail connected to the fraud was delivered to the various apartments within the building.

An old fashion search executed in the accused apartment, the DA says, turned up dozens of Bank of New York employees' credit reports, along with many other documents containing personal identifying information of the Bank of New York employees.

 

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