MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a Westbury woman pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing the identity of a Suffolk County resident in order to cash thousands of dollars in stolen checks from a Nassau County-based Jewish charity.
Marie Augustin, 42, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree (a D felony) and Identity Theft in the 1st Degree (a D felony) before Nassau County Court Judge David Sullivan. Augustin is expected to receive two consecutive sentences of nine months in jail, a civil judgment of $180,577.48 to the Jewish National Fund, and $400 in reparations to the identity theft victim. She is due back in court for sentencing on Sept. 29.
“It is particularly shameful that someone would steal thousands of dollars meant to help fulfill a non-profit’s charitable mission by stealing the identity of an innocent victim,” DA Rice said. “I would like to thank the Nassau County Police Department Crimes Against Property Squad for their efforts to uncover this defendant’s crimes.”
In February, Augustin opened several business bank accounts in the names of the vendors of the Jewish National Fund so she could cash checks stolen from the Rockville Centre-based charity by using the stolen identity of a Suffolk County resident. Augustin used a fake driver’s license in the Suffolk County resident’s name to open the accounts.
The case was sent to the Nassau County Police Department Crimes Against Property when the defendant attempted to make a withdrawal after depositing a check stolen from the Jewish National Fund in the amount of $71,239.24.
Augustin had also deposited two other stolen checks in the amount of $79,338.24 and $30,000 into other business accounts she had created.
In addition to the loss incurred by the Jewish National Fund, the investigation found that the identity theft victim also had numerous unauthorized transactions posted to her bank account. The investigation revealed that Augustin was able to compromise the victim’s account by claiming that her debit card was missing, presenting the false driver license as identification, and having a new debit card issued. Augustin then used this new debit card to make several withdrawals from the victim’s bank account totaling approximately $5,100.
The investigation did not find any relationship between the identity theft victim and the charity. The investigation showed that the identity theft occurred as a separate crime, and then the stolen identity was used as part of the crimes against the charity.
Augustin was arrested by the Nassau County Police Department Crimes Against Property Squad in April. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Rockville Centre Police Department also assisted with the investigation.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Peress, chief of DA Rice’s Economic Crimes Bureau, and ADA Whitney Matthews are prosecuting the case. Augustin is represented by Linda Lebovitz, Esq. of the Nassau County Legal Aid Society.