It was a good deed that backfired.
A 26-year-old homeless man was charged Friday for stealing the identity of an elderly man, who welcomed him into his home, and then going on a $50,000 shopping spree, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Christian Albines, whose last known address was on Woodhaven Boulevard, was arraigned on Sept. 25 on charges of grand larceny, identity theft, forgery, possession of a forged instrument and scheme to defraud. Bail was set at $75,000 and he was ordered to return to court on Oct. 1.
According to prosecutors, the 26-year-old had no place to live in November 2011 when the elderly victim, who was acquainted with Albines’ family, welcomed him into his home.
A month later, the 66-year-old retired from his longtime job at Flushing Hospital. He had paid off all his credit cards, but failed to close them out and then moved back to his home country of Columbia.
During this time, Albines allegedly got access to the credit cards, called the banks and had himself added as an authorized user and extra cards were sent to him in his name, authorities said. Albines allegedly maxed out the cards through charging $50,000 worth of expensive dinners, fancy clothes, car washes and more.
According to Brown, Albines also allegedly filed a false tax return in the victim’s name and collected a $6,000 refund.
Due to Albines’ actions, the victim had to return to the United State to resolve the credit card fraud. The IRS also had begun garnishing the victim’s pension in order to collect the $6,000 refund.
“The defendant is alleged to have taken advantage of the victim’s kindness by running up charges on his credit cards and even filing a bogus tax return to line his own pockets. This is yet another reminder to always protect you financial information and to be very careful whom you take into your home,” Brown said.
Albines, who is currently out on bail, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.