Sheriff: Putnam County Woman Charged in International Scheme to Defraud
Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports the arrest of a Putnam County resident on criminal charges stemming from her alleged involvement in a sophisticated internet scheme to defraud which has ties to other countries.
After conducting a two year investigation, Investigator James Babcock of the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested 46 year-old Monica F. McCurdy of 23A Alfredo Court, Lake Carmel, New York on a variety of felony charges. Investigator Babcock, assisted by United States Postal inspectors, looked into an internet employment scam involving Ms. McCurdy.
In this case, victims would post their interest for employment online – often posting their resume with companies such as: Monster.com, Indeed.com and Craigslist. They then would be solicited by a company they believed to be legitimate offering employment opportunities to those willing to work from home. Some advertised occupations included a “secret shopper,” “data entry person,” “medical records clerk” or “payroll clerk.” After replying to an ad, an applicant would eventually receive a fraudulent money order or check and be asked to deposit into their own bank account. After depositing the phony money order or check into their account, the applicant would be instructed to send money via Western Union or MoneyGram to another unknown individual as part of their employment in amounts ranging from $300 to $2,950. Each fraudulent instrument was mailed via United Postal priority mail or overnight FedEx packages. FedEx accounts were established across the country. The priority mail was paid for with stolen credit card information allegedly obtained by Ms. McCurdy from victims throughout the United States.
After consulting with Putnam County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Ortolano, Ms. McCurdy was arrested and charged with five counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree – all felony crimes. She was arraigned before Patterson Town Justice Anthony Mole and was ordered held at the Putnam County Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 cash bail pending a future court appearance.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for Ms. McCurdy’s residence. Upon executing the search warrant, they seized computer equipment and documents related to the scam.
Further information revealed that Ms. McCurdy’s illegal enterprise spanned across the nation resulting in numerous unsuspecting people falling victim to her scheme. Additionally, it appears that she was acting in concert with others and sent a portion of her illegally obtained money to sources having international ties with: South Africa; Nigeria; Malaysia; the United Kingdom and Dubai.
So far, investigators have identified potential victims from: New York; New Jersey; Connecticut; Massachusetts; Maryland; Florida; Indiana; Georgia; Tennessee; Arkansas; Wisconsin; Alabama; Texas and California. The intelligence gathered in connection with this investigation has been shared with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Joint Terrorist Task Force.
The investigation is continuing and additional criminal charges are expected to be lodged locally.
“Although it is difficult to assess the total amount of money obtained by this scheme to defraud, it is estimated that transactions associated with this case are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Sheriff Donald B. Smith.
“This was a far-reaching elaborate scam that was perpetrated against unsuspecting people of the United States. Aside from the criminal allegations, I am also deeply concerned that Ms. McCurdy’s alleged activities may have included sending large sums of money to others living in various countries around the world. I am, however, confident that the law enforcement agencies working on this case will collect more vital information concerning Ms. McCurdy and her global associates,” concluded the Sheriff.
Investigators are looking for those having information about this scam or anyone who has been victimized as a result of this scheme. Anyone with information is asked to call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation at (845) 225-8060. All calls will be kept confidential.