DA Vance: Five Members of Check Fraud and ID Theft Ring Sentenced to State Prison


July 27, 2015

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of SYLVAINE GNAHORE, 39, to 2 ½-to-7 ½ years in state prison for his involvement in the theft of more than $1 million in corporate, personal, and tax refund checks that were diverted to accounts controlled by the defendant and his co-defendants. On June 16, 2015, GNAHORE pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. Four co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced to state prison for their roles in the scheme.

“Fake West African passports were just one of the ways in which this ring was able to open bank accounts in the names of identity theft victims,” said District Attorney Vance. “Before their scheme unraveled, they managed to steal more than $1 million in personal, corporate, and tax refund checks. As cybercriminals become increasingly devious in their methods, I want to encourage individuals, businesses, and financial institutions to report this type of crime to law enforcement so that the perpetrators can be held accountable.”

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, between September 2011 and January 2014, GNAHORE and his separately convicted co-defendants—ARSHID SOHAIL, 45, LANCINE CONDE, 48, GERALD QUARLES, 38, and DONALD WILLIAMS, 45—operated an identity theft and financial fraud scheme involving stolen personal information that was used to open multiple bank accounts in victims’ names without authorization. To verify the fraudulent accounts, the defendants used fake West African passports, counterfeit records, falsified bills, and fabricated immigration documents. The defendants also opened accounts in names resembling those of legitimate, established New York companies in order to divert checks made payable to those businesses to the accounts controlled by the defendants. 

As a result of the defendants’ conduct, more than $1 million was stolen from local businesses and individual victims in the form of diverted corporate and personal checks.

Assistant District Attorney Rosemary Yu, Co-Director of the Financial Frauds Bureau, handled the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Archana Rao, Principal Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau, Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Assistant District Attorney Gloria Garcia, Principal Financial Investigator Evelyn Marrero, Program Coordinator Tian Tian, and Paralegals Ellen Choi and Oliver Van Zant provided assistance with the case. 

District Attorney Vance also thanked the NYPD and U.S. Secret Service for their assistance with the investigation.

Defendant Information:

LANCINE CONDE, a/k/a “Aly Traore”, D.O.B. 5/25/1967
Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 2 ½ -to-7 ½ years in state prison

SYLVAIN GNAHORE, D.O.B. 5/4/1976
Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 2 ½-to-7 ½ years in state prison

GERALD QUARLES, a/k/a “GQ”, D.O.B. 10/14/1976
Staten Island, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 2-to-4 years in state prison

ARSHID SOHAIL, a/k/a “Fofana Chrishnha Bourgoin”, D.O.B. 6/23/1970
Bronx, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 3 ½-to-7 years in state prison

DONALD WILLIAMS, a/k/a “Dre,” D.O.B. 6/15/1970
Westchester County, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
  • Scheme to Defraud in the Frist Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 1-to-3 years in state prison

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