jury convicts Maryland man of membership in computer fraud and identity theft network targeting state governments | USAO-NDNY

ALBANY, NEW YORK – A jury voted yesterday to convict Guy Cuomo a / k / a “John Monaco”, 54, of Frederick, Md., Of computer fraud, social security number abuse, spoofing aggravated identity and related conspiracy charges for his role in a scheme to sell information illegally obtained from the New York State Department of Labor and labor agencies in other states.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Jonathan Mellone, Special Agent in Charge, New York Region, United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General (USDOL-OIG) .

United States attorney Carla B. Freedman said: “Guy Cuomo and his co-conspirators have run a boiler room for identity theft. They used personally identifiable information to trick state labor agencies into disclosing the last known workplaces of thousands of victims. The defendants then sold this workplace information to debt collectors, generating nearly $ 1 million in sales. Yesterday’s guilty verdict, in all respects, means Guy Cuomo will go to jail for his leadership role in this despicable scheme.

USDOL-OIG Special Agent Jonathan Mellone said: “As the jury found, Guy Cuomo worked with his co-conspirators to systematically create UI accounts in the computer systems of several state labor agencies using social security numbers and other identifiers of unknown victims. Once in those accounts, Cuomo and his co-conspirators stole the victims’ protected employment information and sold that data commercially. Yesterday’s guilty verdict and previous guilty pleas obtained in this case demonstrate our office’s unwavering commitment to investigating and bringing to justice those who compromise the integrity of the unemployment insurance system.

Evidence during Cuomo’s 5-day trial showed that Cuomo worked for and managed companies owned by Jason “JR” Trowbridge in Frederick, Maryland, including Paymerica Corporation. Paymerica researched where the suspected debtors worked and sold the employer information – called workplace information or “POE” – to debt collectors and businesses selling information to debt collectors. In the debt collection industry, the process is known as “skiptracing”.

To get the workplace information, Cuomo and other members of the conspiracy masqueraded as debtors, created thousands of online UI claims on behalf of debtors and with debtors’ personal identifiers. , including social security numbers, and completed applications to the point where each debtor’s last known place of work appeared. After confirming that the debtors were working for the affected employers, Paymerica sold the workplace information for about $ 90 per debtor. Over the course of about three years, Paymerica has made nearly a million dollars selling the stolen information in the workplace.

Cuomo, Trowbridge, and other conspirators have taken a number of steps to hide their activities from state agencies and law enforcement agencies, including using virtual private networks, or VPNs, to hide protocol addresses. Internet used to access and complete unemployment insurance claims in the names of debtors. Evidence showed that the program involved attempts to obtain workplace information for as many as 200,000 people in all 50 states and that Paymerica sold workplace information for at least 12,000 people in 40 States.

Upon conviction on March 16, 2022 before Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy, Cuomo faces a mandatory 2-year jail term for aggravated identity theft charges and up to 20 years in prison for other charges. His co-defendants have pleaded guilty to the following counts and face the following prison terms when convicted:

Respondent

Charges)

Maximum prison sentence

Jason “JR” Trowbridge aka “Ted Frost”, 42, from Frederick, Maryland

Conspiracy, social security number abuse, aggravated identity theft

Conventional sentence of 39 months subject to court approval

Robin Chapin a / k / a “Thomas Price”, 63, from Frederick, Maryland

Conspiracy to commit computer fraud, gain access to a protected computer and obtain information, aggravated identity theft

Two years for aggravated identity theft, maximum penalty of 10 years for other charges

Rebecca Fogle aka “Roxanne Morris” and “Jessica Felton”, 27, of Woodsboro, Maryland

Conspiracy to commit computer fraud, gain access to a protected computer and obtain information, aggravated identity theft

Two years for aggravated identity theft, maximum penalty of 10 years for other charges

Shamair Brison aka “Felicia Carter”, 36, from Frederick, Maryland

Aggravated identity theft

Two years

Sarah Bromfield aka “Nicole Wagner”, 41, from Frederick, Maryland

Aggravated identity theft

Two years

Anna Hardy aka “Sarah Thomas”, 68, from Frederick, Maryland

Aggravated identity theft

Two years

A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular law the defendant is accused of breaking, US sentencing guidelines, and other factors.

The case has been investigated by the USDOL-OIG, with assistance from the New York State Department of Labor, Office of Special Investigations, and is being pursued by Deputy U.S. Prosecutors Joshua R Rosenthal and Cyrus PW Rieck. The case was also indicted by Assistant US Attorney Wayne A. Myers.


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