Apple Products Targeted; 16 Defendants Have Pleaded Guilty in Massive Identity Theft Brothers Shaheed, Ali, and Rahim Bilal Ran Criminal Operation That Compromised Hundreds of Bank Accounts

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of the leader and 15 other members of “S3,” a credit card forgery and identity theft ring based in Brooklyn that compromised hundreds of bank accounts, and fraudulently purchased Apple products from stores around the country to resell for profit. Today in New York State Supreme Court, leader SHAHEED BILAL, a/k/a “SHA,” 29, was sentenced to four-and-a-half-to-nine years in state prison. One of his brothers, RAHIM BILAL, a/k/a “MARLO,” a/k/a “STARLO,” 23, was previously sentenced to two-to-six years in prison. Another brother, ALI BILAL, a/k/a “ACKII,” 25, was previously sentenced to one-to-three years in prison. Each of the brothers pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. In all, 16 members of this ring have pleaded guilty; charges against eight individuals are still pending[1].

“This criminal organization was truly a family affair,” said District Attorney Vance. “The boss, his girlfriend, and at least two of his brothers recruited others – many of them, friends – to act as shoppers at Apple stores around the country using stolen account information. The members of ‘S3’ purposely bought some of the most desirable electronic products on the market because they knew that they would be easy to resell, which is how they made their profit.

“Over the past five years, my Office prosecuted more than 17,000 identity theft-related cases. I applaud the work of the dedicated prosecutors in my Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau for staying a step ahead of the criminals by dismantling ring after ring of identity thieves.”

The defendants were charged after a joint investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and the United States Secret Service. According to their guilty pleas and documents filed in court, between June 2008 and December 2010, the defendants, who called themselves “S3,” illegally obtained personal identifying information, such as the names and credit card account numbers of identity theft victims. The defendants purchased the stolen information from online data traffickers via web-based portals, stored the credit card information in shared email accounts, and used that information to create counterfeit credit cards.

The defendants then recruited individuals to act as “shoppers,” who entered stores armed with these manufactured cards containing the shoppers’ real names, paired with stolen account information. The shoppers used the counterfeit credit cards to purchase electronic goods from Apple stores, including iPods, MacBooks, iPads, and gift cards. The Apple retail stores that the “S3” criminal organization targeted were located in New York, Florida, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Connecticut, Alabama, Oregon, Indiana, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Once purchased, the goods were then sold for cash at below retail cost to several different individuals in Brooklyn acting as “fences.” In turn, the fences would then resell the illegally obtained goods at a profit.

SHAHEED BILAL was the leader of the “S3” criminal operation, while ALI BILAL and RAHIM BILAL served as the managers, or underbosses, who recruited the shoppers. In May 2010, SHAHEED BILAL directed the operation of S3 from inside Rikers Island, where he was being held on an unrelated charge, through the assistance of his girlfriend, OPHELIA ALLEYNE, a/k/a “PHILLY,” 25. Following SHAHEED BILAL’s release from jail in December 2010, investigators identified that he was using a new email account, rightbackonit@yahoo.com, to purchase, receive, and share stolen credit card data. Last year, ALLEYNE pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and was sentenced to four-to-12 years in prison.

Over the course of the period charged in the indictment, a shopper in BILAL’s operation, ANTHONY HARPER, a/k/a “ANT” and “DOLLA,” 30, broke off from BILAL’s group to form his own ring, which ran in a similar fashion. Late last year, HARPER pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, and was sentenced to four-to-12 years in prison.

In February 2011, during searches conducted as part of the arrest operation, investigators recovered three firearms, ammunition, and tools needed to manufacture credit cards. The District Attorney’s Office also seized $300,000 in cash and bank account holdings from the group.

Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Roper and Jasmina H.Ahmetovic handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau; Assistant District Attorney Armand Durastanti, Chief of Trial Bureau 40; and Assistant District Attorney Patricia O’Connor, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau. Investigators Robert Muldoon, Erin Donovan and Zachary Greenwood of the District Attorney’s Investigation Bureau assisted in the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked Brian Parr, Special-Agent-in-Charge of the United States Secret Service New York Field Office; Paul Mahon, Assistant Special-Agent-in Charge of Investigations; C. Christine Fahrenback, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge/Financial Institution Fraud; Lead Investigators Robert Kaatz and Kelly McGuinness; and Special Agent Jason Topman. District Attorney Vance also thanked the High Intensity Financial Crimes Area for the New York Region.

Defendant Information:

SHAHEED BILAL, a/k/a “SHA,” D.O.B. 11/14/1982
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

4 ½ to 9 years in prison

ALI BILAL, a/k/a “ACKII,” D.O.B. 6/4/1987
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

1 to 3 years in prison

RAHIM BILAL, a/k/a “MARLO,” a/k/a “STARLO,” D.O.B. 5/21/1989
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

2 to 6 years in prison

OPHELIA ALLEYNE, a/k/a “PHILLY,” D.O.B. 8/13/1981
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

4 to 12 years

DARNELL GIBBS, a/k/a “BUTTER LUV,” D.O.B. 7/4/1986
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

3 ½ to 7 years in prison

ANTHONY HARPER, a/k/a “ANT,” D.O.B. 3/19/1982
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 2 counts
Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

4 to 12 years in prison

SHENEIK MCCALLUM, D.O.B. 4/11/1988
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

6 months jail, 5 years probation

DESJEUNER KNIGHT, a/k/a “FAT GIRL,” D.O.B. 9/19/1987
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

6 months jail, 5 years probation

EDNA NIXON, a/k/a “NINA,” D.O.B. 9/29/1979
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

1 year in prison

ASHLEY PENNICOTT, D.O.B. 11/20/1987
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

5 years probation

JOSHUA SIMON, a/k/a “DOG,” D.O.B. 2/23/1973
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

4 to 8 years in prison

SHADU WAGNER, D.O.B. 9/6/1987
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

1 year in prison

AHMAD MOHSEN, D.O.B. 03/27/1963
Staten Island, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

10 days community service
$20,000 in forfeiture

TYESHA HALLS, D.O.B. 01/12/1990
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

TETEE MORRISON, D.O.B. 09/04/1987
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

1 year in prison

MALKIA WALKER, D.O.B. 05/21/1976
Brooklyn, New York

Convicted:

Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

Sentenced:

1 year and 45 days in jail

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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