Three Seaford brothers have pleaded guilty to being part of an identify theft ring that “hijacked” store credit accounts and obtained more than $1 million.
The brothers, Mahmoud Abdul Hussein, 27, Ali Adbul Hussein, 33, and Fadal Abdul Hussein, 22, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to produce false identification documents, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced. They each face a maximum potential sentence of 15 years in prison and are scheduled for sentencing on April 10.
Prosecutors said the Seaford brothers manufactured fake driver’s licenses out of their storefront smoke shops in Manhattan's Greenwich Village that were secured by Phillip Smith of the Bronx. The identity theft ring, which prosecutors busted in January, was organized by Smith around 2008 when he obtained stolen identities, including the names and Social Security numbers of account holders at large retail chains like Home Depot, Sears, Kmart, and Kohl’s, according to authorities.
Five other people also pled guilty to their involvement in the identify theft, which was broken up through a collaborative investigation between the offices of the New York State Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
“For more than three years, these defendants methodically victimized hundreds of New Yorkers in an elaborate scheme to line their own pockets,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement. “We will aggressively crack down on identity theft, and these guilty pleas send a message: Identity thieves will go to jail.”
Defense attorneys for the Hussein brothers could not be reached for comment.