Co-defendants plead guilty

Guy Cuomo’s co-defendants pled guilty to the above charges and face the following terms of imprisonment.

A jury convicted a Frederick man in federal court Monday for his involvement in an identity theft ring that targeted state government, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Guy Cuomo, also known as “John Monaco,” 54, was found guilty of computer fraud, misuse of a social security number, aggravated identity theft and related conspiracy charges in the United States District Court Northern District of New York, a DOJ release reads. He faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence for the aggravated identity theft charges and up to 20 years on the other charges. Cuomo’s defense attorney could not be reached for comment.

Cuomo’s six co-defendants, also of Frederick County, pleaded guilty and await sentencing. They are Frederick residents Shamair Brison, Sarah Bromfield, Robin Chapin, Anna Hardy and Jason “J.R.” Trowbridge, plus Woodsboro resident Rebecca Fogle.

“Guy Cuomo and his co-conspirators ran a boiler room for identity theft,” U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman said in the news release. “They used personal identifying information to trick state workforce agencies into disclosing the last known places of employment for thousands of victims. The defendants then sold this place-of-employment information to debt collectors, generating nearly $1 million in sales. [The] guilty verdict, on all counts, means Guy Cuomo will be going to prison for his leadership role in this despicable scheme.”

The Cuomo verdict came after a five-day trial that showed — according to the DOJ — Cuomo worked for and managed companies Trowbridge owned. This included Paymerica Corporation, which reportedly “researched where purported debtors worked and sold the employer information ... to debt collectors and companies selling information to debt collectors,” the release reads.

Paymerica made nearly $1 million in about three years selling stolen information, according to the DOJ. Evidence reportedly showed the scheme involved attempts to obtain place-of-employment information for as many as 200,000 people from every state. Paymerica sold this information for at least 12,000 people from 40 states, the release states.

To obtain information, Cuomo and others pretended to be debtors and “created thousands of online unemployment insurance applications in the debtors’ names and with the debtors’ personal identifiers, including social security numbers, and completed the applications to the point where each debtor’s last known place of employment appeared,” the release reads.

Cuomo and his co-conspirators created “unemployment insurance accounts in multiple state workforce agencies’ computer systems using the social security numbers and other personal identifiers of unknowing victims,” Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone said in the release.

Cuomo’s sentencing is set for March 16, 2022.

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller

(3) comments

nwyrkghos1

I don't see a problem. People should pay their bills. Now were this being done to the disabled on Social Security I would disagree. Able bodied adults with jobs no excuse not to pay your bills.

MD1756

The potential sentence is about 100 years too short.

Piedmontgardener

Very bad news people. Nice police work.

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