Alleged Leader of Large Criminal Enterprise in Downtown Crossing Arrested for Identity Theft, Possession of Counterfeit Money
Extensive Network Allegedly Used Stolen Identities to Obtain Credit Cards and Cell Phones
BOSTON – An undercover sting operation has resulted in the arrest of a leader of an extensive criminal enterprise in Downtown Crossing, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. The operation was a collaboration of the AG’s Office, the Boston Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police and the United States Secret Service.
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Shahab “David” Yousheei, 36, of Brighton, was arrested this morning in Boston Common after allegedly purchasing counterfeit money. Based at a kiosk at 449 Washington St. in Downtown Crossing, Yousheei allegedly led an extensive identity theft scheme in which he used false identities to open mobile phone accounts, obtain smart phones and other high end electronics at discounted prices available to new account holders, and then sold those goods at higher prices.
In another scheme, he used stolen identities to create credit cards, used those credit cards to purchase gift cards, and ultimately sold merchandise purchased with those gift cards for a profit. He also used the fraudulent credit cards to buy high-end electronics outright. Finally, Yousheei allegedly accepted and bought counterfeit money in furtherance of his schemes.
David Yousheei, has been charged with Identity Theft, Illegal Possession of a Credit Card Encoder, Falsely Making a Credit Card (3 counts), Using a Fraudulent Credit Card (2 counts), Receiving Goods Purchased with a Fraudulent Credit Card (2 counts) and Possession of Counterfeit Money.
Yousheei is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow morning in Boston Municipal Court.
“In many ways, this is the new face of crime. One that uses computers as the weapon of choice and one that robs people of their identities instead of their possessions,” AG Coakley said. “We want to thank the Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police and Secret Service for their cooperative effort in making today’s operation a success.”
“There’s no place in the City of Boston for those who profit at the expense of innocent victims,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “Today’s arrest is a testament to the strong partnership of our law enforcement officials – at the city, state, and federal level, and a victory for our City, the Commonwealth, and the hardworking people who are making an honest living in Downtown Crossing. I’m grateful to be rid of such cowardly individuals in an area so full of potential.”
“Today’s arrest and seizure sends a strong message to those who engage in identity theft schemes and the illegal activities that go hand and hand with it,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said. “The BPD will continue to join forces with our law enforcement partners to put you out of business and in jail.”
“Criminal schemes such as this have evolved significantly over the last several years” said Steven D. Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service Boston Field Office. “Cooperation between law enforcement has allowed us to focus our resources and respond quickly to uncover criminal activity with a high level of community impact such as these types of crimes.”
According to investigators, Yousheei led a large group of “runners” that carried out an elaborate operation to use stolen identities to open new mobile phone accounts. They used the fraudulent accounts to obtain high-end electronics and smart phones.
Using the fraudulent accounts, the group purchased high end smart phones at discounted prices made available for new account holders. When contacted by law enforcement, those victims whose identities were stolen had no knowledge of either the new accounts or the smart phones being purchased under their name.
Yousheei also allegedly provided an illegal credit card encoder to his associates that in turn used fake or stolen identities to make credit cards. The associates then used the fraudulent credit cards to allegedly buy thousands of dollars of electronic merchandise of mostly Apple products, including iPads and laptop computers as well as gift cards. Investigators believe that the merchandise and cell phones may have been sold at Yousheei’s kiosk or possibly, overseas.
The arrest and subsequent charges against Yousheei resulted from an undercover sting operation led by Massachusetts State Police in conjunction with the United States Secret Service in which he allegedly purchased counterfeit money.
Anyone who may have purchased merchandise from 449 Washington St. should consider immediately checking their credit for fraudulent activity. In addition, the AG’s Office advises all consumers to request routine free credit reports every year in order to check for fraudulent or inaccurate information that may negatively impact your credit. More information about steps that can be taken to prevent identity theft and safeguard personal information are listed on the AG’s website and in our Guide on Identity Theft located here.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General William Freeman of AG Coakley's Fraud and Financial Crimes Division. It was investigated by the Massachusetts State Police, the United States Secret Service, the Boston Police Department and Senior Financial Investigator Mark Pulli from the AG’s Financial Investigations Division.