EAST HILLS, NY -- The former receptionist at the Sid Jacobsen Jewish Community Center in East Hills, NY, recently pleaded guilty to stealing the credit card information of 18 JCC members. After stealing the information, Elizabeth Young and others used the stolen credit card numbers to purchase more than $15,000 in high-end merchandise, according to a statement from the office of Nassau County (NY) District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Young pleaded guilty to felony identity theft in the first degree. The 22-year-old may serve a six-month jail sentence, pay restitution in the amount of $10,000 and pay a fine of $1,000. She will be sentenced Jan. 11.
Following Young’s December 2006 arrest, Rice addressed the membership of the JCC and urged additional victims to come forward if a review of their statements turned up anything out of the ordinary. She also thanked the JCC and its members for their cooperation during the investigation.
“The members of the JCC did everything right,” Rice says. “They checked their statements, they reviewed their bills, and they contacted the authorities when something seemed to be incorrect. Identity theft is a rapidly growing crime because the victims don’t necessarily have to be careless or naïve to be swindled. Deterrence and tough punishments must play a role in combating a crime that can victimize the most aware and knowledgeable among us.”
Between Sept. 15 and Nov. 30, 2006, JCC members and others using the facilities would use their credit cards to make payments for memberships and classes at the JCC. After processing the credit card payment, Young stole the name, credit card number and other personal information of the member from the charge slips.
Within days, Young used that information for herself or sold it to acquaintances. She and the others used the identity and credit card information to order high-priced items from Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, racking up more than $15,000 in charges in less than three months. When the JCC members got their monthly statements, they saw the charges sandwiched in between legitimate charges they recognized. All of the charges were eventually reversed, and Neiman Marcus and Saks incurred the losses, according to a statement from Rice’s office.
A second defendant, who purchased three stolen credit card numbers from the defendant and used them to make purchases, was also arrested in December 2006. Brigitte Thompson pleaded guilty in April to identity theft and scheme to defraud. The sentence date for Thompson has yet to be scheduled.