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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Bronx, New York, Woman Arrested for Fraudulently Obtaining over $200,000 Worth of iPhones

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bronx, New York, woman was arrested today and charged with fraudulently obtaining over $200,000 worth of iPhones, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Rosanna Lucrecia Cruel Blanco, 39, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. She is expected to make her initial appearance by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From Dec. 17, 2017, to December 2020, Blanco and her conspirators devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain replacement cellular phones from an insurance company – Company 1 – by assuming the identities of wireless customers and filing false claims under Company 1’s handset insurance program. The handsets were predominantly iPhones with a value of approximately $700 to $1,000 per handset. 

Blanco and her conspirators contacted Company 1, posed as legitimate customers and submitted false claims to Company 1 for damage, theft, or loss on hundreds of handsets owned by the legitimate customers. Blanco and her conspirators provided Company 1 with false identification, typically in the form of a New York or New Jersey driver’s license falsified to reflect the name of the legitimate customer. They also provided Company 1 with new shipping contact names and addresses that were different from the actual customers. The new shipping addresses included locations in the Bronx, Yonkers, White Plains, Manhattan, and various locations in New Jersey.

Based on the false claims and the fake identification, Company 1 shipped the replacement iPhones telephones via UPS or FedEx to the new contact names and addresses provided by Blanco and her conspirators. The iPhones were then picked up by Blanco and her conspirators.  More than 100 replacement cellular telephones were shipped to Blanco and her conspirators.  Total losses from the scheme exceed $200,000.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Blake Coppotelli of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-056
Updated February 10, 2021