If it often seems like you can’t trust anyone anymore, this collection of crime stories isn’t going to make you feel much better. In this week’s Criminal Charges, employees of the department of taxation the department of health and the post office in the New York/New Jersey area apparently turned to credit card theft for some added income.
Former state tax worker takes credit card
Think taxes take too much from your paycheck? Consider a former New York State Department of Taxation and Finance worker who allegedly decided to help himself to even more of taxpayers’ money.
Walter Healey of Troy, N.Y., spent at least two of his 22 years with the department stealing taxpayer information, according to investigators. “The New York state Attorney General’s office says Healey worked in a Latham office of Taxation and Finance where they scanned in Social Security cards and birth certificates, and he used that information to apply for at least 90 fraudulent credit cards and lines of credit worth more than $200,000,” Fox23News.com reports. Healey allegedly even used information belonging to his late mother, his sister and a 4-year-old boy.
Department investigators were tipped off by a co-worker who thought Healey was acting oddly. Working with the attorney general’s office, investigators eventually found hundreds of pages of tax forms, documents and credit card statements in Healey’s home. “They also discovered approximately 2,000 Post-It notes with the Social Security numbers of New York taxpayers handwritten on them — many of them accompanied by handwritten notes such as ‘good prospect,’ ‘had money’ and ‘go with this one,'” according to a release from the Attorney General.
The attorney general’s office is working to contact victims, while state tax officials are notifying more than 2,000 individuals across New York whose information was accessed.
Based on the charges against him, Healey could spend between 6 and 18 years in prison.
Missing birth certificates leads to arrest for credit card theft
Evelyne Miracle may sound like a superhero, but according to authorities, she was more of a super thief.
New York City’s Department of Investigation says Miracle used her position with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to obtain credit card information from people seeking copies of their birth certificates, and then allegedly used that information to run up $9,000 in unauthorized charges. A low-level worker, Miracle apparently earned $9.75 an hour as a part-time employee with the department. Jazzrea McRae was also arrested in connection with the credit card thefts.
“The credit card fraud was uncovered after the city Health Department alerted DOI that dozens of blank birth certificates had gone missing from the Office of Vital Records,” the New York Daily News reports. “Investigators determined that at least 106 of the certificates, which could be used to create phony identities to commit credit card fraud, were unaccounted for.”
“At the same time, the department discovered several instances of credit card theft from people who faxed their information to the records office to pay for birth certificates,” the New York Times reports, citing a spokeswoman for the DOH. Currently, it is unclear whether Miracle is also suspected of stealing the birth certificates.
Authorities continue to seek a third suspect in the card crime, identified by the Times as Nathaniel Robinson.
Going postal with stolen plastic
The post office doesn’t stop for rain or snow, but in one case, a postal worker allegedly also didn’t let the law get in her way, either.
New Brunswick, N.J., mail carrier Jennifer James was arrested on April 21 amid charges she used a woman’s stolen credit card information to withdraw more than $7,500 in cash. According to police, James, “a 14-year mail carrier working out of the Home News Row post office, is accused of obtaining a city woman’s credit card number and PIN and using them to make 16 withdrawals at ATMs,” myCentralJersey.com reports. Police say the crimes took place over a two-week span.
Details of how James obtained the credit card information was not immediately available.
“The victim, also a New Brunswick resident, notified police March 30 that money had been taken from her Citibank account,” The Star-Ledger reports.
James has been charged with possession of stolen property and theft by deception. Whether she faces additional charges or disciplinary action is pending an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Post Office, according to the special agent in charge of the agency’s New York field office.