Two West Haven Women Charged in Mail and Identity Theft Scheme
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that two West Haven residents have been charged with operating an extensive identity theft and mail theft scheme that operated in the greater New Haven area. On July 21, JAMILA WILLIAMS-STEVENSON, 36, was arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging her with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. LORENA COBURN, 42, was arrested today on the charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
As alleged in court documents, since approximately February 2014, WILLIAMS-STEVENSON and COBURN submitted to the U.S. Postal Service change of address applications for individuals who resided in and around New Haven, causing unwitting victims to have their mail diverted from their true addresses to addresses that were controlled by WILLIAMS-STEVENSON and COBURN. Once WILLIAMS-STEVENSON and COBURN took control of the mail, they were able to steal the victims’ identities and financial information, and intercept checks that were intended for the victims. They then used stolen personal identifying information to open online bank accounts in the victims’ names and deposit stolen checks into those accounts. They then withdrew the funds at ATMs, and also used stolen funds to purchase money orders at post offices and reloadable debit cards at various retail stores.
More than 20 individuals have been victimized through this alleged scheme, resulting in a loss of more than $50,000 to banks and victims.
The charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years. The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of two years.
WILLIAMS-STEVENSON and COBURN were released on $100,000 bonds.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force and the West Haven, New Haven and Orange Police Departments. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala
U.S. Attorney Daly stated that the investigation is ongoing and encouraged citizens who believe that they have been victimized by this scheme, or who have had a mailing address changed without their consent, to call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 203-782-7391.