News and Press Releases

Eight Defendants Charged in Identity Theft Fraud Scheme Involving Personal Identifying Information from AT&T Customer Files

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2014

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the unsealing of a twenty-two count indictment charging eight defendants with participating in a conspiracy to unjustly enrich themselves by stealing personal identifying information and using the information to make unauthorized wire transfers from the victims' bank accounts and obtain unauthorized credit or debit cards.

All of the defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and several defendants were charged individually with access device fraud, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(2) and 1029(a)(3), and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

The defendants charged are: Chouman Emily Syrilien, 25, of Lauderdale Lakes, Arrington Basil Segu, 28, of Miami, Carlos Antonio Alexander, 24, of Orlando, Angel Arcos, 23, of Pompano Beach, Shantegra La’Shae Godfrey, 23, of Deerfield Beach, and Monique Smith, 31, of Pompano Beach. Arcos, Godfrey and Smith had their initial appearances this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia O. Valle. Segu had his initial appearance yesterday. Alexander is currently incarcerated. Two defendants remain at a large.

According to the indictment, Syrilien was employed by Interactive Response Technologies, lnc. (IRT) located in Margate. IRT provides staffing for call centers to handle direct sales and customer inquiries for AT&T. Syrilien unlawfully provided a co-conspirator with the personal identifying information from multiple AT&T customer files. Segu also unlawfully provided personal identifying information of numerous individuals to the co-conspirator.

Alexander, Godfrey, and Smith and were added as “authorized users” on victims’ credit or debit card accounts or bank accounts to access the accounts of persons whose personal identifying information had been stolen. Once a co-conspirator’s name was added as an “authorized user,” the bank and/or credit card company was directed to mail additional debit or credit cards bearing the names of these newly added “authorized users” to their addresses or addresses under their control, all without the true account holder's knowledge or consent. The defendants used these credit and debit cards to make purchases or obtain money. Alexander, Smith and Godfrey each made both retail purchases as well as cash advances in excess of $24,000, $12,000 and $8,200, respectively.

Defendant Arcos allowed his personal information to be used to open a bank account to further the fraudulent activity.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum of thirty years in prison for the conspiracy charge, a maximum of ten years in prison for the access device fraud charge, and a mandatory term of two years in prison for each aggravated identity theft charge, at least one of which must be served consecutive to any other term in prison.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia R. Wood.

An indictment is only an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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