Fallston Man Pleads Guilty in Three Year Fraud Scheme Using Dead Neighbor’s Identity

September 9, 2009

Baltimore, Maryland - Jerome Anthony Malecki, age 56, of Fallston, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to the plea agreement, from July 2004 to November 2007, Malecki and co-conspirator David Johnson used the identity of Malecki’s next door neighbor, who had died in July 2004, to fraudulently obtain and renew credit accounts in the dead man’s name, and to steal and convert his financial assets. These assets include approximately $95,000 in social security and state pension payments from Baltimore County that were deposited in the victim’s bank account following his death. The death was not reported to the Social Security Administration or Baltimore County.

Prior to his neighbor’s death, Malecki had performed odd jobs for his neighbor and obtained a key to his neighbor’s home. After his neighbor’s death, Malecki and Johnson used the key to enter the victim’s home. In order to conceal their criminal activity and make it appear that the victim was still alive, Malecki stole mail from the victim’s mailbox, kept the lawn mowed and set lights on a timer to make it appear that the victim was still alive. Eventually, Malecki arranged for another individual to live in the victim’s home who would bring the victim’s mail to Malecki. Malecki would read the mail, including financial and credit card statements, and direct Johnson how to handle payments. Malecki and Johnson continued to make unauthorized payments on the victim’s mortgage and to pay taxes, utilities and other expenses using his funds.

By the time the fraud was uncovered in November 2007, Malecki and Johnson had made thousands of dollars of unauthorized charges and had left an outstanding balance of $47,102 in unauthorized credit card debt in the victim’s name. At least $140,000 in loss is reasonably foreseeable to Malecki based on his role in the conspiracy.

Malecki faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the conspiracy and a fine of $1 million. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for December 4, 2009 at 12:00.

David Anthony Johnson, age 47, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Miller Yasser and Special Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Teelucksingh, who are prosecuting the case.



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