NYC man arrested and indicted in identity theft scheme

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrest of Sharif King, 29, of Manhattan, for allegedly perpetrating an identity theft scheme in which he held himself out as a record company executive, hired employees and then stole their identities in order to open credit cards, apply for a loan, steal a vehicle and collect on an insurance claim. King is charged on a 15-count indictment with Identity Theft, Scheme to Defraud, Forgery, and Grand Larceny, among other charges, and if convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to the indictment and statements made by prosecutors at arraignment, King’s alleged scheme began in the summer of 2013, when King posted job opportunities online for his purported record label “Dower Music Entertainment, LLC.” The posting attracted numerous applicants from across the country who aspired to work in the music industry. King allegedly invited the applicants to a group interview in Manhattan, where King introduced himself as the Executive Vice President of Dower Music. King then hired the applicants for unpaid internship positions where they would work from home and be reimbursed for expenses, with the promise of future full-time, paid employment.

Also according to statements by prosecutors, under the pretext of reimbursing their expenses and putting them on the payroll, King allegedly requested personal identifying information from employees, including their date of birth, address, and social security number. King allegedly then used the stolen personal information to open a credit card in the name of one employee and charge $2,384.75 in expenses, and to apply for a $29,000 loan and attempt to open a credit card in the name of a second employee.

Prosecutors further allege that in addition to using stolen identities to apply for credit cards and a loan, King directed one of his employees to purchase a 2007 Lexus for work purposes, claiming that the employee would need a fancy car to keep up appearances. The Lexus was registered, financed, and insured in the employee’s name, but days later and without the employee’s knowledge, King added his name to the policy. King allegedly then told the employee he was fired and stole the Lexus. Prosecutors further allege that when King subsequently got into an accident with the Lexus, he pretended to be the employee when he reported the accident to both the police and GEICO. King then allegedly changed the address on the insurance policy to his own so that the insurance claim check would be mailed to his residence. After King received the $8,886.32 check from GEICO, he allegedly altered it, making it payable to himself, and deposited it into his own checking account.

SOURCE: A.G. Schneiderman

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