Final Defendant Sentenced 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 Donnell Young, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that defendant Nydia Nelson, 30, of Miami, was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga to 84 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $87,736 in restitution.
Co-defendants Pamela Rhim-Grant, 40, and Eugene Moss, 33, both of Miami, were sentenced on July 9, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard. Rhim-Grant was sentenced to 81 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Moss was sentenced to 70 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Rhim-Grant and Moss were each also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $87,736.
Each of the defendants previously 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.
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 Moss and 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. 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’s PII in either cash or gift cards. According to Rhim-Grant, approximately 400 students’ 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.