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Defendant Pleads Guilty to Phony Craigslist/Identity Theft Scam

250 victims discovered in 30 states

For Release: Immediate, Thursday, October 11, 2012

Contact: Geoffrey Gloak, 518-457-7377

New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox announced today that Susan Pemberton, a/k/a Susan Williams, has pled guilty to multiple felonies.  Pemberton, 42, of Rockville Centre, NY, was the last of three co-defendants to plead guilty for their involvement in a multi-year scam involving fake Craigslist ads and false income tax returns using stolen identities.  

The defendants placed ads on Craigslist for employment opportunities and apartment rentals that did not exist.  Following inquiries to the ads, the defendants sent their victims employment and rental applications that sought their name, address, birth date, and Social Security number.  They used the stolen identities to create fake W-2s and filed more than 250 false State tax returns requesting more than $500,000 in fraudulent refunds.  They also used the stolen identities to obtain bank loans and credit cards in their victims' names.  

Pemberton pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, and Identity Theft in the Second Degree.  

Cynthia Sibert, 23, of Roslyn, NY, pled guilty June 28, 2012, to 40 felonies, including Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Identity Theft in the Second Degree, and Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, as well as one misdemeanor count of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree.  

Sibert also used her job as a home health care aide to steal the identities of the elderly people in her care. She then opened credit cards in their names. She was sentenced on August 30th to five years probation and three months of time-served jail.  She was also ordered to pay $61,089 in restitution.

The third co-defendant, Keith Campbell, 52, of Brooklyn, NY, was indicted and charged with his two co-defendants with two counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree and one count of Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, as well as with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, individually.  He pled guilty on July 27, 2012 to the Conspiracy count and was sentenced to a conditional discharge and ordered to pay restitution of $11,221.66.  

Susan Pemberton, a/k/a Williams, is expected to be sentenced on January 23, 2013 to two to four years in state prison.  She is also facing federal charges in the Eastern District of New York.  

Commissioner Mattox thanked District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Assistant District Attorney Kellie A. McKenna for their outstanding effort in this complicated case.  "More than 250 victims were discovered in 30 states.  These defendants preyed upon the elderly, the infirm, and those seeking employment to obtain their personal identification and use it for their own benefit.  We are pleased that this criminal activity has been aggressively investigated and prosecuted," Commissioner Mattox said.   

District Attorney Rice said, "These women were nothing more than two small-time scam artists who preyed on hard-working people looking for a job.  My office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who steal the identities of others for their own criminal gain . I want to thank the State Department of Taxation and Finance for their invaluable contributions to this investigation."


Updated: October 11, 2012