Nonprofit Lost $180K After Stolen Identity Scam

April 3, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

A nonprofit based in New York City lost nearly $180,000 after a woman using a stolen identity allegedly deposited checks stolen from the organization, according to state police.

According to a report in Newsday, Marie Augustin allegedly used a Suffolk, Long Island woman’s identity to get a fake Pennsylvania license and notarized birth certificates to claim that she was the principal for two Pennsylvania companies that were vendors for the Jewish National Fund (JNF). This alleged scheme helped Augustin gain access to checks written by the nonprofit to pay the vendors, which she was said to have deposited in three bank accounts in Nassau.

Police said she deposited $79,338.24 at Wells Fargo, $30,000 at Bank of America, and then $71,239.24 at TD Bank.

JNF spokesman Adam Bill reportedly told Newsday that the organization knew something was wrong when the two vendors Augustin purported to work for never received their payments. Before they could take any action, Augustin was arrested on March 27 after she attempted to withdraw $19,000 from her TD Bank account, but asked instead for $10,000 when the bank teller informed her that he would have to report anything higher than $10,000 to federal officials. She was initially charged with grand larceny but another charge — second-degree grand larceny — was added on April 1.

JNF, which funds environmental groups, reported that their bank absorbed the losses and that none of their employees are suspected of being involved in the scheme. Police are currently working to figure out how Augustin, who is being held on $100,000 bail, was able to steal the identity she used.

You can read the full story in Newsday.