A pair of Queens women are facing serious jail time after being arrested this week for their alleged roles in a loan fraud scheme that swindled five credit unions out of more than $250,000 in cash — and stole identities from unsuspecting victims.
Amber Mantock, 25, of Astoria and Summer Aboushady, 26, of Jackson Heights were among the five suspected ring participants arrested on Feb. 26 following a six-month investigation by the Nassau County District Attorney’s office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
According to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Mantock and Aboushady allegedly worked with three others from Brooklyn and New Jersey to steal identities in order to obtain loans from credit unions ranging between $7,500 and $35,000. The ring obtained the loans through online applications, using the names and Social Security numbers of unsuspecting victims to fraudulently obtain the cash.
“The effects of this type of fraud are devastating for those who have to reclaim their identities and the banks that have to recoup financial losses,” Singas said in announcing the charges on March 1. “This investigation, one of the largest identity theft cases we have ever investigated, highlights the importance of strong working relationships among all levels of law enforcement.”
Law enforcement sources said that Brooklyn’s Dascon Sears, who owns an operates Sears Credit Advisory Counselling LLC, a credit repair service, out of his apartment, allegedly led the operation, which started up in February 2018.
Over the course of a calendar year, authorities said, Sears’ alleged ring filed for more than 100 loans with the Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Digital Credit Union, Comtrust Federal Credit Union and Navy Federal Credit Union. They stole the victims identities from various sources, including school and hospital websites.
Prosecutors noted that Aboushady, who worked for Capital One Bank, allegedly stole account information and sold it to other members of the ring. She additionally opened accounts on Sears’ behalf, using the victims’ names.
In submitting the loan applications electronically, the ring participants used a money order to pay for the process. Once the credit union approved the loans, they then deposited the proceeds into the bank accounts that Sears fraudulently opened.
Law enforcement sources said that Sears, Mantock and two other suspects — Nyantakyi Boateng, 32, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and Konstantinos Toikas, 28, of Brooklyn — eventually withdrew the loan proceeds from ATMs and went on spending sprees, paying for personal expenses such as car loans, rent and airline tickets.
Singas noted that the ring was able to secure more than $250,000 in loans, but had sought more than $1 million from the credit unions. The approximate amount of stolen proceeds is expected to increase as investigators sort through evidence recovered during raids at the ring participants’ homes.
The ring was uncovered after the credit unions became aware of loans being in arrears and discovering that the purported account holders had been victims of identity fraud. The Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union then reported their financial losses to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, which launched the investigation.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of the credit fraud ring should call the Nassau County District Attorney’s Financial Crimes Bureau at 516-571-2149.