Maplewood man charged with identity theft, fraudulent banking

TRENTON, NJ — Attorney Gen. Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Maplewood man was indicted April 4 on charges that he stole the identity of a bank account holder and fraudulently obtained a debit card in the account holder’s name that he used to make more than $69,000 in purchases and withdrawals.

The Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau obtained a state grand jury indictment charging Corey N. Blanton, 25, of Maplewood, with third-degree counts of impersonation and theft of identity, theft by deception, and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Blanton was charged in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice, which began when an investigator for Bank of America contacted the State Police about thefts involving the fraudulently obtained debit card. The investigation revealed that Blanton allegedly obtained personal information about the account holder that enabled him to order a new debit card and have it mailed to an address in Georgia. It is alleged that once Blanton received the debit card, he used it to make more than $69,000 in purchases and withdrawals in New Jersey and Georgia. Investigators identified Blanton as the man allegedly using the fraudulently obtained debit card and had a warrant issued for his arrest. Blanton was arrested in April 2017 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia.

“In 2016, identity theft and credit card fraud caused more than $16 billion in losses to financial institutions and consumers,” Grewal said in a press release. “The best way to deter this conduct is to vigorously investigate alleged fraudsters like Blanton and send them to prison.”

“In less than one month, Blanton allegedly racked up over $69,000 in fraudulent purchases and withdrawals,” Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice said in the release. “Fortunately, the State Police and our attorneys were able to follow the money trail to Blanton and secure this indictment.”

“Victims of identity theft not only suffer from financial loss, but are also traumatized by the invasion of their privacy,” said Col. Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We will continue to aggressively pursue and arrest alleged criminals like Blanton, deterring others like him and hopefully offering some solace to their victims.”

Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law.