A Jersey City man with a long criminal record could face 10 years in prison after he was convicted of stealing a Mendham man’s identity and more than $74,000 from his bank in Bedminster, according to a statement issued on Wednesday, May 3, by Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
After a trial before Superior Court Judge Edward M.Coleman in Somerville, a jury found on April 24 that the man, Saeed Cousar, 42, guilty of third degree theft by deception and third degree identity theft.
Authorities said the alleged scam began to unravel in July 2013, when the Mendham resident checked his savings account statement from the Peapack-Gladstone Bank and realized that more than $74,000 was missing.
He contacted police and a variety of Internet records, cellular telephone, bank, and utility records, pointed to Cousar as connected to the theft.
Multi Agency Probe
An investigation by the Bedminster Township Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit showed that Cousar allegedly used the stolen ID information including a date of birth and Social Security number to open a phony online banking and checking accounts in the victim’s name.
Cousar then allegedly transferred money from the victim’s legitimate savings account to the fraudulent accounts, the prosecutor said.
The internal bank database traced the transactions to the Internet Protocol, or IP, address at Cousar’s residence. Authorities searched Cousar’s Jersey City home in November 2013 and allegedly found personal identifying information of dozens of people, Robertson said.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 16, when Cousar faces a maximum of 10 years in prison with a five year period of parole ineligibility based on his extensive criminal history, the prosecutor said.
Law enforcement agencies involved with the investigation included the Denville Police Department, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Manchester Township, Ocean County Police Department and the Jersey City Police Department.
Authorities said Cousar’s criminal record includes 17 prior convictions.
The included a December 2008 incident where Cousar allegedly used a Denville man’s credit cards to make more than $60,000 in purchases, including a 2009 Ford Mustang.
The charges were filed authorities executed a search warrant in Jersey City and allegedly found lists of more than 150 names of people along with their dates of birth, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers, according to police. They also found credit histories for some of the names on the list, as well as various fraudulently obtained credit cards.
In August 2002, Cousar was arrested for credit card fraud after he allegedly used a stolen card to buy more than $6,000 worth of furniture from USA Mattress in Fairfield. Authorities said the credit card had been reported stolen in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.