New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday announced the arrest of five people, including three bank tellers, for taking part in an identity theft ring.
The scheme involved three tellers who worked at branches in New York City - including at JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Bank of America, TD Bank and Wachovia, which is now part of Wells Fargo.
Schneiderman charged them with stealing personal information from bank customers, and then using that data to withdraw more than $850,000 from customer accounts.
The tellers allegedly relayed customer information such as account and Social Security numbers to a ringleader in the Bronx for more than four years. The data was used to create fraudulent checks and drivers' licenses to withdraw money at branches in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Tyrone Lee, 28, is the alleged ring leader. The tellers include Nadia Figueroa, 23, and Kalika Arline, 29, of the Bronx and Venise Cole, 27, of Florida. Bronx resident Anthony Davis, 29, was in charge of manufacturing the fraudulent documents used by the ring to steal from the victims.
The five members of the group were indicted in the Westchester County (N.Y.) Court on multiple federal charges, including grand larceny and identity theft. The bank tellers could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. Lee and Davis could face 15-year sentences.
"Bank tellers have access to our most sensitive financial information, and we must be able to trust that our data will remain safe and secure, Schneiderman said in a press release. "Identity theft is a complex and growing problem, and we must redouble our efforts to ensure that all of us from large corporations, to small businesses and families are better protected."
Schneiderman said he plans to bring additional charges against the defendants, as well as other members of the identity theft ring.