DA Vance: ID Thieves Indicted For “Card Cracking” Scheme Involving Snapchat, Rent Checks


July 11, 2018

Upper West Side Apartment Complex Concierge Took Photos of Tenants’ Rent Checks

Defendants Cashed $50,000 in Forged Checks, Used Social Media to Recruit Others Into Scheme

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the indictment of six individuals for participating in a scheme involving identity theft, check forgery, and bank fraud. The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Identity Theft in the Second Degree, among other charges.[1]

“As Commissioner O’Neill and I warned last year, ‘card cracking’ scammers with large followings on Snapchat and other platforms are luring people into their schemes by showing off designer merchandise, luxury cars, and stacks of cash,” said District Attorney Vance. “Social media users who see these posts promising quick, fast money should know that they are scams, they are illegal, and those who coordinate and participate in them may find themselves facing criminal charges like the ones contained in today’s indictment. This case demonstrates outstanding collaboration between my Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and our partners at the NYPD, who share our commitment to protecting New Yorkers from constantly evolving identity theft and financial scams. If you are a victim of fraud, please call my Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Hotline at 212-335-9600.”

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between August and September 2017, the defendants obtained victims’ personal information, deposited forged checks, and used ATM cards to withdraw funds from the accounts as part of a coordinated scheme known as “card cracking.”

As part of the scheme, GABRIEL MOLINA, 32, a concierge who was responsible for receiving rent checks from the tenants of a high-rise apartment complex on the Upper West Side, began taking photographs of the checks—unbeknownst to victims—and sending them to FRAYLUIS HENRIQUEZ, 23. The stolen personal information was used to create forged checks, and a search warrant later executed at MOLINA’s residence revealed possession of a laptop with check-manufacturing software and blank check stock, as well as a firearm and metal knuckles. ASHLEY BAUTISTA, 22, used social media to bring others into the scheme, posting ads on Snapchat and offering individuals money in exchange for use of their ATM cards and bank accounts so that the forged checks could be deposited into the accounts by MOLINA, HENRIQUEZ, and others. JUSTIN SIMON, 22, JAROD BAILEY, 21, and a third individual (“JD GLASSES”), also acted as so-called “runners” and were dispatched to pick up ATM cards from individuals recruited to be part of the scheme, deposit forged checks, and withdraw funds from the accounts.

In total, the defendants deposited at least 52 counterfeit checks, corresponding to approximately $62,550 in bank account fraud.

In a similar but unrelated case, in May 2017, 39 individuals were indicted for stealing more than $1 million through a counterfeit check cashing and larceny scheme that resulted in as much as $2.5 million in fraud.

Assistant D.A. Alona Katz is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Daniel Holmes and Assistant D.A. Jeremy Glickman, Deputy Chiefs of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, Assistant D.A. Elizabeth Roper, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Cybercrime Analysts Jovanni Rodriguez, Jonathan Simmons, and Michael Brennan also assisted with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance also thanked the NYPD, and in particular, Detective Ramon Velez, and Sergeant Robert Li, for their assistance with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

JAROD BAILEY, D.O.B. 6/1/1997
Brooklyn, NY

Charged:
• Identity Theft in the Second Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

ASHLEY BAUTISTA, D.O.B. 9/23/1995
Bronx, NY

Charged:
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

JD GLASSES

Charged:
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 7 counts
• Identity Theft in the Second Degree, a class E felony, 2 counts
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
• Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count

FRAYLUIS HENRIQUEZ, D.O.B. 9/17/1994
New York, NY

Charged:
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 5 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 52 counts
• Identity Theft in the Second Degree, a class E felony, 5 counts
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
• Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 5 counts

GABRIEL MOLINA, D.O.B. 8/27/1985
New York, NY

Charged:
• Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 5 counts
• Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, a class D felony, 2 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 52 counts
• Identity Theft in the Second Degree, a class E felony, 5 counts
• Criminal Possession of a Firearm, a class E felony, 1 count
• Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
• Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count
• Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 5 counts

JUSTIN SIMON, D.O.B. 5/25/1996
Bronx, NY

Charged:
• 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
• Identity Theft in the Second Degree, a class E felony, 1 count
• Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, 1 count