|NY Couple's Senior ID Scam Funded Disney World Engagement|
|By GEETIKA RUDRA||Jul 18, 2013, 10:59 AM|
The ringleaders of an alleged identity theft scam of senior citizens were arrested after they posted photos of their Disney World engagement and purchases on Facebook that was paid for with their ill-gotten gains, police announced.
Amanda Zieminski, 27, and Clyde Forteau, 29, both of New York City, were arrested and indicted for 64 criminal acts including identify theft, falsifying business records, and grand larceny, the Staten Island District Attorney's office said in a statement Wednesday.
Zieminski and Forteau allegedly used the stolen money to pay for courtside seats at a 2012 NBA Finals game, a vacation to the Dominican Republic, and a vacation to Disney World, where they got engaged in front of Cinderella's castle, according to police.
"But make no mistake, Amanda Zieminski is no Cinderella and Clyde Forteau is far from Prince Charming," said Staten Island District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr.
Zieminksi and Forteau are accused of stealing the Social Security numbers and credit card information of more than 80 elderly patients from a Staten Island medical center where Zieminski once worked, police said.
Forteau, an aspiring rapper who also goes by the moniker 'C-Money CEO,' used the information to file false tax returns and had the refunds sent to his personal bank accounts. Forteau allegedly had his victims' Social Security payments sent to his own accounts. He posed as a Hurricane Sandy victim who lost his home to explain the diverted money to bank officials, police said.
Police were able to identify Zieminski and Forteau after a year-long investigation, which included a Google search that revealed photos of their purchases and vacations posted on the couple's public Facebook accounts. The purchases and vacations the couple flaunted matched the items charged to the stolen credit card accounts, according to the statement.
Police discovered more than 50 stolen credit cards and 20 fake driver's licenses when they arrested Zieminksi and Forteau, according to the statement.
"As for Amanda Zieminski, she stated on Facebook on June 28 that, 'Seeing so many homeless people on my way to work makes me realize how blessed I am.' She failed to mention that the luxuries in her so called 'blessed' life were illegally obtained and now she will have to answer for her role in this complex scam," Donovan said.
Police also charged and arrested three other alleged accomplices.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty, according to Douglas Auer, a spokesman for the Staten Island District Attorney's office.
Attorneys for Zieminksi and Forteau did not respond to requests for comment.