3 from LI plead guilty to $1M ID theft ring

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Three Long Island brothers have pleaded guilty to participating in a $1 million identity theft scheme, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Friday.

Mahmoud Abdul Hussein, 28, Ali Abdul Hussein, 34, and Fadal Abdul Hussein, 23, all of Seaford, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to produce false identification documents. Each faces a maximum of 15 years in jail.

Five other people also pleaded guilty as part of the ring, which was tracked in a two-year investigation, Schneiderman's office said.

The scheme was led by Phillip Smith, 55, of the Bronx, who allegedly stole names and addresses from hundreds of victims, according to a news release from Schneiderman's office. Smith pleaded guilty and faces up to 22 years in prison.

Smith went through the stolen identities to find those that had large credit accounts open at major retail stores. The Hussein brothers then used the information to make fake driver's licenses with photos of other members in the ring, Schneiderman said.

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The identity theft ring used the false identifications to access credit accounts and buy expensive items and gift cards at retailers such as Kmart, Sears and The Home Depot, which they then resold. Up to $1 million in merchandise and gift cards were purchased from retailers using the stolen identities.

The Hussein brothers are scheduled to be sentenced on April 10, 2013. They could not be reached for comment.

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