Third Defendant Pleads Guilty in Identity Theft Scheme Involving Miami-Dade County Public Schools Students' Personal Identifying Information
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Nydia Nelson, 30, of Miami, pled guilty to one count of computer fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1030, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. Co-defendants Pamela Rhim-Grant, 40, and Eugene Moss, 33, both of Miami, pled guilty on April 29, 2014 to the same two charges. Sentencing for Rhim-Grant and Moss is scheduled for July 8, 2014. Sentencing for Nelson is scheduled for July 25, 2014. At sentencing, the defendants face a maximum of five years in prison for computer fraud, and a mandatory term of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, to run consecutively to any other sentence.
According to court documents, Rhim-Grant was a food service manager at Horace Mann Middle School and an employee of Miami-Dade Public Schools. In connection with her position, Rhim-Grant had Network Computer access to the Miami-Dade Public Schools' Integrated Student Information System (ISIS) database through which Rhim-Grant could access information regarding current and former Miami-Dade County Public Schools students' personal identifying information (PII), including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers.
Court documents also state that from approximately October 2012 through January 21, 2014, Rhim-Grant and co-conspirators Eugene Moss and Nydia Nelson agreed and conspired to access the Network Computer, with the intent to commit stolen identity fraud, for the purpose of obtaining student PII in furtherance of that fraud. Eugene Moss and Nelson placed orders for student PII with Rhim-Grant. Once the order was received, Rhim-Grant accessed the Network Computer and printed student information sheets containing the PII from the ISIS database and delivered them to either Moss or Nelson at a prearranged location. Once in possession, Moss and Nelson used the student PII to file income tax returns seeking fraudulent refunds. The fraudulent refunds were directed either to prepaid debit cards or accounts controlled by Nelson.
According to court documents, Rhim-Grant was paid $10 per student PII in either cash or gift cards. According to Rhim-Grant, approximately 400 student's PII were fraudulently accessed on the Network Computer and delivered to Moss or Nelson pursuant to the scheme.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI, and the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank R. Maderal.
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.