Two West Haven women are accused of operating an extensive identity theft and mail theft scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $50,000 to banks and the victims, according to authorities.
Jamila Williams-Stevenson, 36, and Lorena Coburn, 42, both face federal charges in connection to the scheme, which operated in the greater New Haven area, U.S. States Attorney Deirdre M. Daly announced on Wednesday.
Williams-Stevenson was arrested July 21 on a federal complaint charging her with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Coburn was arrested on Wednesday on the charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Since approximately February 2014, Williams-Stevenson and Coburn are accused of submitting to the U.S. Postal Service change of address applications for individuals who resided in and around New Haven, causing unwitting victims to have their mail diverted from their true addresses to addresses that the women controlled, according to a press release.
“Once Williams-Stevenson and Coburn took control of the mail, they were able to steal the victims’ identities and financial information, and intercept checks that were intended for the victims,” Daly said in the press release. “They then used stolen personal identifying information to open online bank accounts in the victims’ names and deposit stolen checks into those accounts. They then withdrew the funds at ATMs, and also used stolen funds to purchase money orders at post offices and reloadable debit cards at various retail stores.”
More than 20 individuals have been victimized through this alleged scheme, resulting in a loss of more than $50,000 to banks and victims, according to Daly.
The charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years. The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of two years.
Williams-Stevenson and Coburn were released on $100,000 bonds.