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October 4, 10

NEWS / Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft in Million-Dollar Mortgage and Credit Card Fraud Scheme in Bergen Count


TRENTON Ė Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a woman pleaded guilty to theft and a second woman was sentenced to state prison today in a million-dollar mortgage and credit card scheme they conducted in Bergen County.

According to Director Taylor, Yu Jane Chen, a.k.a. Yu Tang, 43, of Naperville, Illinois, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi in Bergen County. The state will recommend a sentence in the second-degree range of five to 10 years in prison. Chen must pay restitution of $1,153,375, for which she is jointly and severally liable with her co-defendants. Sentencing is scheduled for November 19. Chen, who was arrested in May by the Naperville Police, is being held in the Bergen County Jail with bail set at $500,000.

Also today, co-defendant Yi Feng Reid, a.k.a. Penny Reid, 49, formerly of Closter, N.J., and now of Irvine, Calif., was sentenced to three years in state prison by Judge DeAvila-Silebi. Reid pleaded guilty on May 6 to second-degree theft by deception. Under her plea agreement, the state recommended that she be sentenced as a third-degree offender. She is also jointly and severally liable for restitution of $1,153,375.

Deputy Attorney General Francine Ehrenberg is prosecuting the case and handled todayís court hearing for Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau, which investigated the case.

The charges against Chen and Reid were contained in a June 26, 2009 state grand jury indictment. Two men, George Liu, 34, and Ji Gang Chen, 54, are charged in the same indictment with one count each of conspiracy, theft by deception and identity theft. Both men once lived in New York, and now reside in China. The charges are pending against those men, who are considered fugitives.

The investigation revealed that Reid and Yu Jane Chen were involved in the mortgage and small business loan industry in the Bergen County area. They unlawfully used the identities of other people to obtain mortgages, other types of loans and unauthorized credit card accounts from 2004 through mid-2007. Some victims gave Reid and Yu Jane Chen their personal and financial information while seeking and obtaining a loan. Other victims provided their personal information while beginning the loan process, then elected not to seek a loan. The victims later learned that their names had been used to secure unauthorized mortgages, loans and credit cards.

Reid and Yu Jane Chen were the principal co-conspirators. With their help, co-defendant George Liu allegedly obtained two mortgages on a family memberís house totaling $314,000 by using that relativeís identity, along with false tax returns and phony employment information. Co-defendant Ji Gang Chen, assisted by the women, allegedly obtained four mortgages on a family memberís house totaling $446,000, using the relativeís identity and false employment and wage information.

In all, the four defendants were charged with obtaining seven mortgages totaling $850,000 by using stolen identities and false information. In addition, 13 bank-approved loans and credit accounts worth a total of more than $300,000 were opened using stolen identities. Numerous banks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York were defrauded.

Lt. James H. MacInnes and Deputy Attorney General Ehrenberg conducted the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice under the direction of Supervising Deputy Attorney General Terrence Hull, chief of the Major Crimes Bureau.

The investigation revealed that, among other things, Reid and Yu Jane Chen used checks, credit card transactions and cash proceeds from their unlawfully-obtained accounts to make ATM withdrawals, and to buy goods at supermarkets, gas stations, toy stores, jewelry stores and other retail outlets. Other credit and cash proceeds were used to pay for ponies to entertain Reidís child, to pay Reidís nanny, to pay for the EZ Pass account of a Reid family member and to pay the expenses of Reid-operated businesses.

The investigation further revealed that Yu Jane Chen used credit and cash proceeds to make a variety of jewelry purchases, and to pay the expenses of several businesses in which she was involved. Thousands of dollars also went to pay a spiritual adviser shared by both Reid and Yu Jane Chen. In some cases, proceeds from the unauthorized loans were used to make payments on other fraudulently-obtained credit accounts.

The charges against Liu and Ji Gang Chen are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases10/pr20101001b.html

 




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