Bad Memories

Binary data with the word IDENTITY appears in the shadow of a hand. Concept for digital crime. Blue toned image.

Oh, how we all long for summer vacation, or any vacation for that matter, especially after a very long year of being stuck inside due to a pandemic. Back in the day when you could travel anywhere without the fear of catching a deadly virus, two men decided to take quick jaunt down to New Orleans from New York’s JFK airport. However, their intent was not to take some time off in the Bayou, but to commit fraud at several Baton Rouge area Best Buy stores. (Seems like they could have stayed at home to do that.)

Most people take vacations to discover new places and have new experiences, while bonding with friends or family and creating memories of a lifetime. Terrence Nealy, 33, of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Myles Nicholas, 32, of Jamaica, N.Y., definitely made some memories after their trip down south. (Albeit bad ones.)

Evidently, these two men were on the radar of the Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force on June 21, 2019 when their plane landed. Local law enforcement and the U.S. Secret Service set up surveillance at the New Orleans International Airport. Investigators observed the two co-defendants renting a car.

The two men drove to Baton Rouge to a Best Buy store where they applied for a $4,000 line of credit using a stolen identity. Then they tried to buy an Apple MacBook Pro. Surprisingly, their purchase was denied, so they hopped in their rented car and drove back to New Orleans where they were arrested near their hotel in downtown New Orleans later that day. (So much for fitting in a little sightseeing.)

Nealy pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and he must pay a $200 mandatory special assessment. Nicholas previously received a 25-month prison sentence for the same charges. (There’s no doubt that this vacation will be remembered for some time to come.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Second New York Man Sentenced For Aggravated Identity Theft and Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud”, dated January 22, 2021.

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announces the sentencing of TERRENCE NEALY, age 33, of Rockville Centre, New York, by U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman.  On January 20, 2021, Judge Feldman sentenced NEALY to 33 months in prison pursuant to his prior guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.  NEALY was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $200 mandatory special assessment. NEALY is the last of two defendants to be sentenced in this case. These charges arose from NEALY’S June 2019 trip with his co-defendant, Myles Nicholas, to southeast Louisiana where they attempted to commit fraud at several Baton Rouge-area Best Buy stores.

According to court documents, members of the Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force received information that NEALY and Nicholas, would be flying to New Orleans from New York on the morning of June 21, 2019. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies and U.S. Secret Service agents initiated surveillance at New Orleans International Airport, where they observed NEALY and Nicholas arrive on their flight from New York’s JFK Airport. NEALY and Nicholas then rented a car and immediately drove to Baton Rouge. While in Baton Rouge, the defendants opened a $4,000 line of credit at a Best Buy store using a stolen identity. Shortly thereafter, however, their attempt to purchase an Apple MacBook Pro using that line of credit was denied. NEALY and Nicholas returned to their car and drove back to New Orleans. Later that day, they were arrested near their hotel in downtown New Orleans by state and federal members of the Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force.




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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.