MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arraignment Thursday of a Brooklyn woman on grand jury charges related to her involvement in an identity theft ring that netted thousands of dollars by using the stolen identities of hospital patients to make purchases at stores across the New York metro area.
Latoya Talbert, 24, was arraigned Thursday before Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins on grand jury charges of Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree (a D felony), Identity Theft in the 1st Degree (a D felony), Identity Theft in the 2nd Degree (an E felony), Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree (an E felony), and Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor).
Since 2011, Talbert, working with an identity theft ring, obtained the stolen identities of patients at North Shore Hospital and used those identities to open instant credit accounts and make purchases at stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Target.
“This defendant took advantage of vulnerable hospital patients in a scheme to make thousands of dollars of purchases based on the good credit of others,” DA Rice said. “Though she tried to evade justice, she will now have to face the consequences of her deceitful actions.”
A member of the ring, Clincy Robinson, 57, of Brooklyn, was convicted of Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony), Identity Theft in the 1st Degree (a D felony), two counts of Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree (an E felony), and Criminal Possession of Computer Related Material (an E felony) and sentenced in December 2012 to six months in jail and 5 years probation. Another participant in the ring, Dennis Messias, 36, of Queens, was convicted of Identity Theft in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor) and Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor) and sentenced in January 2013 to one year in jail. Since 2012, other members of the ring have been arrested when using the stolen patient identities to shop and have been convicted in Queens, Manhattan, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Talbert was arrested by the Nassau County Police Department Crimes Against Property Squad and Third Precinct in June 2011 at Bloomingdales in Roosevelt Field, where she attempted to make purchases under the stolen identity of a North Shore Hospital patient. She also had an out-of-state identification in the name of another North Shore patient. A warrant was issued for her arrest in September 2011 after she failed to appear at a scheduled court date. Talbert was stopped last week in Virginia for a traffic violation and then taken into custody by police on the New York warrant. She was given the opportunity by the judge in Virginia to voluntarily appear in New York rather than face extradition.
The cases against the North Shore Hospital identity theft defendants were the result of an investigation by DA Rice’s office, the Nassau County Police Department, the New York State Police, and North Shore Hospital as well as participation and cooperation from the NYPD and police departments in NJ and Connecticut. The District Attorney’s Office had the full cooperation of North Shore Hospital to prosecute and obtain convictions for all known members of this ring – of which Talbert is the last known member.
Assistant District Attorney Diane Peress, chief of DA Rice’s Economic Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case. Talbert is represented by Legal Aid Society.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.