A Freeport woman has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than 500 identities across 31 states–info she used to fund vacations, lease a BMW and buy furniture, authorities said.
Seerojnie Ram pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of identity theft, grand larceny, scheme to defraud, criminal possession fo a forged instrument, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing.
“The evidence of identity theft and financial fraud uncovered in this case is staggering–and serves as a wake-up call for anyone who is not already aware of this widespread and growing sector of illegal activity,” Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Prosecutors said the 47-year-old woman fraudulently filed more than 200 personal income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, as well as in New York, West Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Kentucky from Oct. 1, 2013 until her arrest this week.
Ram allegedly stole the identities of disabled and dead people–a practice known as “ghosting”–forged change of address forms with the U.S. Postal Service and IRS, applied for credit and debit cards using more than 50 fake names and opened checking accounts in made-up identities.
When investigators executed a search warrant at her home, authorities said they seized computers, hundreds of credit cards and forged documents, including a high school diploma. She also filed for bankruptcy this year and received Medicaid benefits, prosecutors said.
The alleged scheme unraveled when U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigators noticed mail of many different people was being sent to the same address.
Judge James Darcy set bail for Ram at $250,000 cash or bond. If convicted, she faces up to 3-1/2 to seven years in prison. She is due back in court Monday.