13 charged as scammers

The Brooklyn Paper
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Thirteen Brooklyn con artists were pulled from a life of riches and luxury cars to a jail cell and a shared toilet after falling into Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes’ ever widening fraud net.

DA Hynes announced the 13 indictments on Wednesday, after investigators put the suspect’s spoils -- three luxury cars -- on display for all to see.

Hynes said that the suspects were apprehended in three different scams involving real estate fraud, identity theft and credit card fraud and automobile insurance fraud.

“Criminals like the bunch charged here today poison our economy,” Hynes said. “The victims are not faceless corporations, but honest, hard-working people, who see their insurance premiums and credit card fees rise because of fraud like this.”

Officials said that four of the suspects -- identified as Ryan Foster, Nathaniel Mahone, Jacques Sylvestre, and Yanira Santiago %u2013 were allegedly operating a credit-card fraud and identity theft ring, which at times netted as much as $10,000 per day, between 2006 and 2008.

The crew are charged with purchasing credit card numbers from private Internet sites in Russia and the Ukraine and using the information to manufacture fake credit cards in various Brooklyn sites they called the “lab”. They then sent hired “shoppers” to stores, such as Game Stop, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Zales, Louis Vuitton and Ford’s Jewelers, where they would purchase items the ringleaders would later sell, officials alleged.

Foster, Mahone, Sylvestre and nine others are charged with conspiring to make false accident, vandalism and theft claims on late-model luxury cars. Prosecutors allege that the crew would remove undamaged interior parts, such as air bags, dash boards, door panels and seats, and replace them with damaged parts before telling police that the cars had been vandalized near their homes. They would then allegedly file claims with their insurance companies to have the damaged car parts replaced. The same damaged car parts were recycled and used repeatedly in separate claims, officials alleged.

In the third indictment filed this week, Sylvestre was charged with criminal possession of a weapon after cops found a gun in his home during the execution of a search warrant in October 2008.

All 13 suspects were charged with enterprise corruption. Each could face 25 years in prison if convicted.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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