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NRI student of Queens goes up to Four Years in jail for ID theft



Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced today that a Queens youth has once again pled guilty -- in his third prosecution for ID theft in Queens County in two years -- in an Internet identity theft scheme. The defendant admitted to using the Internet to steal personal identification information and using the information to make fraudulent purchases and cash withdrawals for his own personal benefit. He faces up to four years in prison.

District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant has admitted his guilt yet again to engaging in the crime of identity theft despite a judge’s earlier warning that he would face severe penalties, including imprisonment, if he were to do so. The defendant may have not learned the first two times, but struck out the third time and will learn the hard way -- behind bars -- that identify theft is considered a very serious crime in Queens County that is vigorously prosecuted and severely punished. Hopefully he has now finally learned his lesson.”

The charges were the result of an ongoing joint investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the New York City Police Department and the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau.

District Attorney Brown identified the defendant as Shiva Brent Sharma, 20, of 104-18 108th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens, a technical school student. The defendant pled guilty earlier today to two counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree and Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin Brandt who indicated that she would sentence the defendant on October 19, 2005 to two to four years in prison and order him to forfeit $2,300 and merchandise that was seized by detectives when a court-authorized search warrant was executed on his residence.

January 1 and October 15, 2004 inside his residence and at various Queens hotels where he was staying, he fraudulently obtained the personal identity information and credit card numbers of various individuals and used their identities and credit card numbers to make thousands of dollars in purchases from auto parts, computer, jewelry and other companies, and that he thereafter received numerous shipments of merchandise at his home, at least one hotel in Queens where he was staying and at another Queens location. The defendant additionally admitted to using the stolen credit card numbers to send money transfers to Western Union, which he would then obtain by using fake ids bearing the stolen identity information. Many of the credit cards belonged to Citicorp.

The defendant admitted that he obtained over $50,000 in money transfers and merchandise purchases and that he resold more than $10,000 of the merchandise which he obtained over the Internet and kept the money from the sales. The defendant also admitted that he had previously been convicted of Identity Theft in the First Degree in 2003, less than five years from the commission of the new crimes.

According to the District Attorney, postal inspectors and detectives executed a court-authorized search warrant at the defendant’s Richmond Hill residence on Saturday, October 16, 2004 and recovered computers, computer equipment, credit card receipts and various other business records including financial profiles and credit reports of over 35 individuals from various states across the country along with fake ids containing their names and the defendant’s photograph.

December 2002 indictment charged that the defendant fraudulently obtained the personal identity information of over 100 AOL subscribers and used the information to purchase over $10,000 worth of electronic equipment and racing car parts.

The defendant pled guilty on September 17, 2003 to two counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree and Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Second Degree before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin Brandt who sentenced him on November 12, 2003 to time served, five years probation, required him to perform 350 hours of community service not related to computer or office work and also make full restitution in the amount of $5,000.

The defendant admitted that while under indictment he additionally took over the debit card/checking and accounts of a Durham, North Carolina, couple and others and used their identities and their bank and on-line accounts to place dozens of orders for electronic equipment which he received at his home and other locations. The defendant additionally admitted that he created at least two websites (a technique known as “spoofing”)in which he used the name “Amazon” in the web addresses and then used the websites to auction the stolen property he had fraudulently obtained via his orders to online retailer

At the urging of District Attorney Brown and other law enforcement officials, New York State enacted in 2002 a tough law making identity theft a felony. The law provides stiff penalties of up to seven years in prison for the unlawful, unauthorized possession and use of personal identifying information, including names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, credit and debit card numbers, bank account numbers, computer passwords, mother’s maiden name and ATM codes. The District Attorney said the defendant’s first prosecution represented the first such indictment in New York State for identity fraud under the ID Theft law.

The investigation was conducted by Inspectors Ana Bourdon and Glen McKechnie of the United States Postal Inspection Service under the supervision of Postal Inspector Alex Malaiko and the overall supervision of Assistant Inspector in Charge Thomas E. Boyle and Inspector in Charge, NY Division, Ronald C. Walker and Sergeant Christopher Kunz of the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Division under the supervision of Captain Francis Darsillo, Criminal Intelligence Division; Police Officer Daniel Mallo of the 107th Precinct under the supervision of Captain Scott Olexa and the overall supervision of Deputy Inspector Charles Talamo.

Assistant District Attorney Diane M. Peress, Deputy Chief, of the District Attorney's Economic Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case assisted by Assistant District Attorney Jason Garelick and , Investigative Auditor Phylesia Lang under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gregory C. Pavlides, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney Linda M. Cantoni.





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Shiva Sharma

  • Faces Up to Four Years In Prison
  • $50,000 in money transfers and merchandise purchases
  • Sharma graduated top of Horizon Academy's Class of 2005 while he was behind bars awaiting trial in the previous cases. He graduated with a number of awards, including one for Outstanding Achievement in Computer Technology.