Business identity theft scam thwarted by Darien cops

A complex scam to steal business identities appears to have been thwarted by Darien Police, who were tipped off that two people were trying to open up four businesses in residential neighborhoods on two occasions this year.

The scam successfully bilked a Bank of America account out of $57,000, police said, when the people intercepted a check going from one company to another, then opened a business in Darien under the name of the check’s intended recipient, deposited the check at one branch and then withdrew the cash from another.

However, the scam had one flaw, police said — the scammers inability to know Darien’s geography. Two businesses were registered with the Town Clerk’s office on Pratt Island, a small residential neighborhood. One of the businesses was a bakery and another was a real estate company, police said. When police investigated the addresses registered, the homeowners were not aware of any businesses operating there.

Police arrested Jamalia Boyd, 33, of Manhattan, and Michael Brady, 61, of Brooklyn, in connection to the scam. Boyd has a prior criminal history, police said, and had just been released from a New Jersey jail after being arrested for stealing a $25,000 watch. She is currently being held at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in Queens on a $150,000 bond. Darien is in the process of extraditing her.

Police said Boyd and Brady entered the Town Clerk’s office to open four businesses — two on Sept. 10 and two on Oct. 9. The business names were legitimate businesses registered elsewhere, police said. Two were landscaping companies — Longere and 3 Forn. The bakery was called The Bagel Factory, with an unusual spelling of “bagel,” police said, and the other company was called Red Apple Real Estate.

The pair also tried to deposit a $20,000 check into a Webster Bank account, but was unsuccessful in withdrawing the money, police said. No clear connection to the origin and destination of the intercepted checks could be determined. The checks were all sent via U.S. Postal Service. One was going from upstate Connecticut to Utah, and the other was going from California to New York City.

Boyd and Brady also engaged in this business identity theft scam in other states, police said, having taken more than $100,000 from businesses. They were both charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, first-degree criminal attempt at larceny and first-degree larceny.

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