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NEWARK, N.J. – Four people have been charged with conspiring to use and using victims’ personal identifiable information to defraud individuals and financial institutions, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Marc Lazarre, 37, of Secaucus, New Jersey: Fritzgerald Steide, 28, of Valley Stream, New York; Mohammed Khan, 32, of Elmont, New York; and Andrea Lewis, 29, of Inwood, New York, are each charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to engage bank fraud. Lazarre is also charged with one count of bank fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From September 2021 through October 2022, Lazarre, Steide, Khan, and Lewis conspired to enrich themselves by fraudulently obtaining victims’ funds. Lazarre utilized unlawfully obtained bank account and personal identifiable information to open accounts in victims’ names without their knowledge, caused the transfer of funds from the victims’ actual financial accounts to the accounts he opened, and then withdrew the funds. Lazarre also unlawfully obtained or fabricated checks made out to victims, used fraudulent identification documents to open accounts in names almost identical to the victims’ names, and then cashed the unlawfully obtained or fabricated checks.
Lazarre also worked with Steide and Khan, both of whom were employees of an Oceanside, New York, branch of a victim financial institution. Lazarre sent victims’ personal identifiable information to Steide and Khan, who in turn used this information to determine whether those individuals had bank accounts with Steide and Khan’s employer. In Khan’s role as a customer service representative, he received documents that he knew reflected stolen personal identifiable information from Lazarre and subsequently opened bank accounts using that information. Steide advised Lazarre regarding how to avoid detection, including by telling him when a conspirator should arrive at the bank to meet with Khan. Lewis impersonated numerous victims using false forms of identification provided by Lazarre. On at least one occasion, Lewis communicated with Lazarre in real time for assistance with responding to a bank representative’s questions regarding her purported identity.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud counts are punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The aggravated identity theft counts carry an additional consecutive mandatory minimum term of two years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; and special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McKay with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shawn Barnes, Chief of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit, and Matthew Belgiovine of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.