The Manhattan District Attorney's office announced the indictments of six people who are accused of running a check forgery "card cracking" ring that had a rising rapper using her Snapchat channel to find recruits.
The alleged fraud occurred between August and September 2017. According to the D.A.'s office, Gabriel Molina, 32, worked as a concierge at an Upper West Side apartment building and would collect rent checks. He allegedly took photographs of the checks and sent them to Fraylius Henriquez, 23, for the purposes of forging fake checks. (A laptop with check-manufacturing software and blank check stock were apparently found in Molina's apartment.)
Then, the D.A.'s office said, Ashley Bautista, 22, known as the rapper Young Ash, "used social media to bring others into the scheme, posting ads on Snapchat and offering individuals money in exchange for use of their ATM cards and bank accounts so that the forged checks could be deposited into the accounts by Molina, Henriquez and others."
A post shared by Young Ash (@youngashmusic) on
Justin Simon, 22; Jarod Bailey, 21; and a third person, known as "JD Glasses", are accused of being "runners" who would pick up ATM cards from the individuals who agreed to give them ATM cards and bank accounts. The group allegedly deposited at least 52 counterfeit checks, reaping a total of $62,500.
The defendants face charges including grand larceny, identity theft and fraud.
D.A. Cy Vance said, "As Commissioner O’Neill and I warned last year, ‘card cracking’ scammers with large followings on Snapchat and other platforms are luring people into their schemes by showing off designer merchandise, luxury cars, and stacks of cash. Social media users who see these posts promising quick, fast money should know that they are scams, they are illegal, and those who coordinate and participate in them may find themselves facing criminal charges like the ones contained in today’s indictment."
The D.A.'s office urges New Yorkers who suspect they are victims of fraud to call the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Hotline at 212-335-9600.
Last year, the Manhattan D.A.'s office revealed that 39 people had been involved in a $2.5 million card cracking fraud.