Westbury woman pleads guilty to scamming charity using stolen identity, Nassau DA says


Marie Augustin, 42, of Westbury, has admitted to stealing the identity of a Suffolk County woman and then using it to scam more than $180,000 from a Jewish charity, Nassau prosecutors said Wednesday. Photo Credit: NCPD

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A Westbury woman has admitted to stealing the identity of a Suffolk County woman and then using it to scam more than $180,000 from a Jewish charity, Nassau prosecutors said Wednesday.

Marie Augustin, 42, pleaded guilty Tuesday to third-degree grand larceny and first-degree identity theft, both felonies, before Nassau County Court Judge David Sullivan, prosecutors said.

Augustin is expected to receive two consecutive sentences of 9 months in jail, a civil judgment of $180,577 to the Jewish National Fund, and $400 in reparations to the identity theft victim, according to a news release from the office of Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Augustin is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 29.

Rice in the release called Augustin's theft "shameful."

In February, Augustin opened several business bank accounts in the names of the vendors of the Jewish National Fund so she could cash checks stolen from the Rockville Centre-based charity by using the stolen identity of a Suffolk County resident, prosecutors said.

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She used a fake driver's license in the Suffolk County resident's name to open the accounts, officials said.

The case was sent to the Nassau County's Crimes Against Property Squad when Augustin tried to withdraw cash after depositing a check stolen from the Jewish National Fund in the amount of $71,239, officials said.

Augustin had also deposited two other stolen checks in the amount of $79,338 and $30,000 into other business accounts she had created, prosecutors said.

In addition to the loss by the Jewish National Fund, the investigation revealed that the identity-theft victim also had several unauthorized transactions posted to her bank account.

Investigators discovered Augustin was able to compromise the victim's account by claiming that her debit card was missing, presenting the false driver's license as identification, and having a new debit card issued, officials said.

Augustin then used this new debit card to make several withdrawals from the victim's bank account totaling about $5,100, officials said.

The investigation did not find any relationship between the identity-theft victim and the charity. The investigation showed that the identity theft occurred as a separate crime, and then the stolen identity was used as part of the crimes against the charity.

Augustin was arrested on the charges in April. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Rockville Centre Police Department also assisted with the investigation.

Augustin was represented by Legal Aid, whose attorneys traditionally do not comment.

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