2000-06-14 / Front Page

Busted $1.5 M Mail Theft Ring Started In Queens Hit Local Residents

by john toscano

Busted $1.5 M Mail Theft Ring
Started In Queens Hit Local Residents

A mail theft and financial fraud ring which was busted last week after an 18-month run that netted $1.5 million was operated out of the ringleaders’ Kew Gardens Hills and East Elmhurst homes and listed among its victims residents of Jamaica Estates, Bayside and Forest Hills, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown reported last week.

Indicted in the lucrative mail theft and financial fraud scheme were Ismael Irizarry, 28, also known as Wilson Alemany, and his wife, Luisa Irizarry, 27, also known as Nicole Mercado and Ana Agosto.

Brown said Mr. Irizarry once lived at 25-20 93d St., East Elmhurst. The couples’ present address is Pembroke Pines in Florida.

Mr. Irizarry was arrested at LaGuardia Airport last Jan. 12th and is being held without bail. His wife was arrested by Florida police last week and is awaiting extradition to Queens, Brown said.

Brown said the investigation resulting in the arrests and indictments were jointly conducted by his office and the United States Postal Service.

The DA said that the theft ring allegedly "targeted thousands of homeowners in affluent and middle-class neighborhoods along the Long Island Expressway, Grand Central Parkway and Northern State Parkway" in Queens and Long Island.

Workers employed by the ringleaders stole from hundreds of mail boxes, "scavenging through the stolen mail for personal financial data, hoarding the data for future identity takeovers and stealing outright financial instruments such as Social Security and tax refund checks, blank convenience checks and credit cards and credit card applications."

Brown observed "The brazenness and high degree of organization exhibited by the defendants was both unusual and alarming."

At its height, the DA said, the ring employed "as many as 16 individuals or ‘runners’ who allegedly pilfered the mail box contents and earned between $300 to $600 a day at their Monday–to–Friday jobs.

The scheme was carried out under the corporate names of Millenium Import/Export Company and Genesis Communications, Inc., Brown said, and 20 accounts were opened in different banks under those names and others.

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