S.I. man among four charged in check-fraud, identity-theft scam, prosecutors say – Staten Island Advance

Gerald Quarles was charged with grand larceny, identity theft, falsifying records and other crimes. 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — When Gerald Quarles was arrested earlier this year on Staten Island after allegedly slashing a female acquaintance’s mattress, he was carrying an Ivory Coast passport with his photo and another person’s name, said authorities.

That’s not the only stolen identifying information that’s passed through the Clifton resident’s hands in recent years, authorities allege.

Quarles, 37, was part of an identity-theft and fraud ring accused of stealing more than $1 million in corporate, personal and tax-refund checks, alleges the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Quarles, who’s also known as “GQ,” and four co-defendants diverted checks made payable to individuals and companies to fraudulent accounts the ring controlled, said Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

The scam ran from September 2011 through January of this year, according to indictments recently filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court.

“Companies, individuals, and even banking institutions can be victimized by cybercriminals and identity thieves,” said Vance in a statement. “Scammers seize every opportunity possible to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.”

Prosecutors said the defendants used stolen identifying information to open multiple bank accounts in their victims’ names without authorization.

To verify the accounts, the scammers used phony West African passports, counterfeit records, falsified bills and fabricated immigration documents, prosecutors said.

The defendants also opened numerous accounts in names resembling those of legitimate New York companies so they could divert checks payable to those businesses to accounts which the ring controlled, said authorities.

In all, the defendants stole more than $1 million in personal and corporate checks from local businesses and individuals, prosecutors said.

Also charged in the case are Bronx residents Lancine Conde; Sylvain Gnahore, 38, and Arshid Sohail, 44, and Westchester County resident Donald Williams, 44, said prosecutors.

The defendants are accused of felony counts of grand larceny, identity theft, stolen-property possession, forged instrument possession and scheme to defraud, prosecutors said.

The name of Quarles’ lawyer was not immediately available.

In February, Quarles was arrested on Staten Island and accused of slashing a female acquaintance’s mattress with a knife. He also allegedly damaged her TV by kicking it.

Quarles lived with the woman in Clifton, although authorities didn’t specify their relationship.

When police arrested Quarles, he was carrying, in a plastic bag, a “Republique de Cote-d’ Ivorie Passeport” with his photo and someone else’s name on it, police allege.

Quarles also had 19 plastic zipper bags of marijuana in his possession, police allege.

He was charged with forged-instrument possession, criminal mischief and marijuana possession, according to information from District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s office.

That case is pending in Stapleton Criminal Court.

Quarles has served two stints in state prison, under the aliases Gerald Smith and Gerry Hernandez, public records show.

In 1999, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison on a drug dealing conviction, and in 2006, he got a four-and-a-quarter to seven-year sentence for drug dealing, felony assault and criminal contempt.

He was released to parole in November 2012.

Article source: http://www.silive.com/eastshore/index.ssf/2014/08/si_man_among_four_charged_in_c.html

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