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10 Long Islanders Charged In Fraud Scheme Targeting Children's Personal Information

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Nearly a dozen Long Islanders have been charged in an identity theft ring that’s worth $1 million in fraudulent loans and credit card accounts in Suffolk County.

Authorities say 13 people, including at least 10 from Long Island, tapped over a dozen financial institutions to create over 20 new identities from personal information stolen from children.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini announced the 108-count indictment Wednesday.

“It’s not just the adult who is not very diligent about checking your credit history and credit report. I think very few of us, frankly, as parents, think about checking their 9-year-old’s credit report, their credit history. And I hope this case highlights the need to do just that,” Sini said.

Authorities say the alleged mastermind, Adam Arena of California, would use a shell corporation to boost the credit ratings of the fake identities. Sini believes the group is responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of debt.

Arena has pleaded not guilty, and is due back in a Suffolk court in October.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.