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NJ Woman Admits to Identity Theft Scheme Using Deceased Aunt’s Credit Card Information

(Source: FBI) – CAMDEN, NJ—A Jersey City, New Jersey woman today admitted using the identity of her deceased aunt to obtain access to credit card and deposit accounts, causing three banks to lose more than $30,000, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Jocelyn Russo, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas in Camden federal court to an information charging her with one count of bank fraud.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Russo admitted that after the death of her aunt (“JB”) she used JB’s Social Security number and other personal identifying information to fraudulently add herself to JB’s credit accounts at Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase and to open up a deposit account at Bank of America. She contacted Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase by phone and claimed to be JB, providing personal identifying information. Russo then added herself to JB’s credit card accounts as an authorized signer and used the cards. Russo also admitted that she used JB’s debit card to access JB’s Provident Bank account without authorization.

Russo made large purchases on JB’s credit cards, which she did not pay off, and withdrew all of the funds from JB’s bank accounts with Provident Bank Provident Bank. The scheme caused Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Provident Bank to lose more than $30,000.

The bank fraud charge to which Russo pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for February 19, 2013.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel V. Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.

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