New York Woman Arrested for Insurance Fraud in Obtaining $200K of iPhones

A Bronx, New York, woman has been arrested and charged with fraudulently obtaining more than $200,000 worth of iPhones from an insurance company.

Rosanna Lucrecia Cruel Blanco, 39, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from Dec. 17, 2017, to December 2020, Blanco and her conspirators devised a scheme to fraudulently obtain replacement cellular phones from an insurance company by assuming the identities of wireless customers and filing false claims under its handset insurance program. The handsets were predominantly iPhones with a value of approximately $700 to $1,000 per handset.

Blanco and her conspirators contacted the insurance company, posed as legitimate customers and submitted false claims for damage, theft or loss on hundreds of handsets owned by the legitimate customers.

Blanco and her conspirators provided the insurance company with false identification, typically in the form of a New York or New Jersey driver’s license falsified to reflect the name of the legitimate customer. They also provided the company with new shipping contact names and addresses that were different from the actual customers. 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 identification, the insurance company shipped the replacement iPhones telephones via UPS or FedEx to the new contact names and addresses provided by Blanco and her conspirators. The iPhones were then picked up by Blanco and her conspirators and amounted to more than 100 replacement cellular telephones over the course of the scheme with total losses exceeding $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. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Source: United States Department of Justice