NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City, New Jersey, man today admitted using social media to promote a sophisticated website that sold fake driver’s licenses, some of which were later used to commit financial crimes, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Abraham Corcino, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with authentication features.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From October 2012 through August 2014, Ricardo Rosario, 33, of Jersey City, with the assistance of Corcino and Alexis Scott Carthens, 38, of Newark, New Jersey, sold fake driver’s licenses over the Internet. In connection with their illegal operation, the defendants ran a website that was available at “fakeidstore.co” and “fakedlstore.com.”
A number of the fake driver’s licenses sold by Corcino and other conspirators were used by criminal actors in connection with “cash out” schemes where stolen credit card information, usually obtained through hacking or ATM skimming operations, was encoded on to counterfeit credit cards and used to steal cash from victims’ accounts.
Rosario created and ran the website. Corcino and Carthens assisted Rosario by creating and mailing the fake driver’s licenses purchased through the website. Corcino also maintained an Instagram account to promote the website.
The website sold fake New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin driver’s licenses, and the website boasted that the licenses had “scannable barcodes” and “real” holographic overlays. The price for each fake driver’s license was approximately $150, but the website offered bulk pricing for orders of 10 or more.
The website allowed its users to pay by bitcoin, a cryptographic-based digital currency, or MoneyPak, a type of prepaid payment card that could be purchased at retail stores. The “FAQ” section of the website indicated that orders would be received approximately one to two days after payment was received and described the website’s policy with respect to returns: “No Refunds. No snitching.”
At the plea hearing, Corcino admitted promoting the website on social media and mailing the fake driver’s licenses to the website’s customers.
The conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with authentication features charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 19, 2016.
Carthens pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme on April 25, 2016 and awaits sentencing. The charges against Rosario are pending. The charges and allegations against him are merely accusations, and he is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Assistant Inspector in Charge Cynthia Shoffner, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew S. Pak of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section of the Economic Crimes Unit and Barbara Ward, Acting Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Chistopher Adams, Esq.