ALBANY -- A group of seven people from Maryland face charges in Albany, accused of stealing protected personal employment information from government computers, federal prosecutors said.
The scheme involved impersonating debtors in order to gain information that the group would then sell to companies trying to collect debts, prosecutors said.
The scheme hit state government computers in New York State and elsewhere, officials said. While the seven were indicted earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Albany, the indictment was just announced this past week.
The seven either operated or were employed by the Maryland-based company Paymerica Corporation, officials said. The corporation researched place-of-employment information to help those collecting debts.
The individuals are accused of exploiting unemployment insurance applications with information gained elsewhere to get the employment information, prosecutors allege.
"Members of the conspiracy created user accounts in the names of their victims, without the victims' authorization, to obtain information about the victims' current employers," prosecutors said in a release. "The defendants then sold this information to third-party debt collectors seeking to collect money from the victims, including by garnishing the victims' wages."
Prosecutors identified those indicted as: Justin "J.R." Trowbridge, 40; Guy Cuomo, 51; Robin Chapin, 61; Anna Hardy, 66; and Shamair Brison, 33, all of Frederick, Md., and Rebecca Fogle, 25, of Woodsboro, Md, and Sarah Bromfield, 39, of Hagerstown, Md.
The indictment charges one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud against all seven, five counts of accessing a protected computer and obtaining information against varying defendants and five counts of aggravated identity theft against varying defendants.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the New York State Department of Labor, Office of Special Investigations, and is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne A. Myers and Joshua R. Rosenthal.