A Richmond Hill teenager has been charged for the second time in six months with stealing people's personal identity information and then using their credit card and Social Security numbers to buy $30,000 in merchandise, the Queens district attorney said.
Shiva Brent Sharma, 19, of 85-25 101st St. was also accused of creating fake Web sites to resell the stolen products, accepting money from interested individuals and then failing to deliver the items to patrons, DA Richard Brown said last week.
"It is deplorable that the defendant, a young man, appears to so lightly regard the consequences of his allegedly criminal conduct, but the lesson he will learn - the hard way - is that identity theft is considered a very serious crime in Queens County that is prosecuted vigorously to the full extent of the law," Brown said May 21.
The district attorney said during raids of Sharma's house and his other mailing addresses at 85-23 101st St. and 89-11 86th St. police found merchandise, including digital cameras, cell phones and plasma televisions. Brown said cops also discovered a .22 caliber automatic handgun.
Brown said Sharma was charged with identity theft, unlawful possession of personal identification information, criminal possession of stolen property, scheme to defraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records. The district attorney said Sharma faces up to seven years in prison if convicted under New York state's identity theft laws.
Sharma was first charged with identity theft in December for allegedly stealing personal information, including Social Security numbers, credit and debit card numbers, computer passwords and drivers' license numbers, from more than 100 America Online customers, Brown said.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney said Sharma was released without bail following his first set of charges. She said the case was still pending.
In the current round of charges, Brown alleged Sharma took the personal identity information and Amazon.com account numbers from a Durham, N.C. couple to buy $15,000 in merchandise that was then shipped to Richmond Hill.
The district attorney said Sharma is alleged to have also created two phony Web sites to auction the stolen property. Brown said Sharma allegedly took $15,000 from a Vermont man for three plasma televisions but never sent him any of the units.
Brown said the investigation and subsequent charges against Sharma stemmed from an ongoing investigation by the Police Department, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the District Attorney's Economic Crimes Bureau.
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2003 Community News Group
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