NEWARK, N.J. – A Bronx woman today admitted fraudulently obtaining over $200,000 worth of Apple iPhones, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Rosanna Lucrecia Cruel Blanco, 39, of Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Clair C. Cecchi to an information charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From December 2017 to January 2020, Blanco and her conspirators devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain replacement cellular phones from an insurance company – Company 1 – by assuming the identities of wireless customers and filing false claims under Company 1’s handset insurance program. The handsets were predominantly Apple iPhones with a value of approximately $700 to $1,000 per handset.
Blanco and her conspirators contacted Company 1, posed as legitimate customers, and submitted false claims to Company 1 for damage, theft, or loss on hundreds of handsets owned by the customers. Blanco and her conspirators provided Company 1 with false identification – typically a fake New York or New Jersey driver’s license falsified to reflect the name of the legitimate customer. They also provided Company 1 with new shipping contact names and addresses that were different from the actual customer names and addresses. The new shipping addresses included locations in the Bronx, Yonkers, White Plains, Manhattan, and various locations in New Jersey.
Based on the false claims and the fake identifications, Company 1 shipped the replacement cellular telephones via UPS or FedEx to the new contact names and addresses provided by Blanco and her conspirators. The shipped Apple iPhones were then picked up by Blanco and her conspirators. More than 100 replacement cellular telephones were shipped to Blanco and her conspirators and total losses exceeded $200,000.
The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 5, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Blake Coppotelli of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.