TRENTON, NJ — Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that an Essex County man pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to stealing 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.
Corey N. Blanton, 26, of Maplewood, pleaded guilty to third-degree charges of impersonation/theft of identity and theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Robert A. Kirsch in Union County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Blanton be sentenced to three years in state prison. He will be required to pay full restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for March 8.
Deputy Attorneys General Joseph Remy and Thomas Huynh prosecuted Blanton, and DAG Huynh took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
Blanton was indicted 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 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. 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 using the 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.
“Identity theft and credit card fraud cause billions of dollars in losses each year to financial institutions and consumers,” Grewal said. “The best way to deter this conduct is to send fraudsters like Blanton to prison.”
“Our Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau aggressively investigates identity theft, financial fraud and other types of white collar crime in collaboration with the New Jersey State Police, other law enforcement partners and impacted financial institutions,” said Veronica Allende, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This case illustrates our determination to bring these criminals to justice.”
“Victims of identity theft not only suffer from financial loss, but are also traumatized by the invasion of their privacy,” Col. Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police said. “We will continue to aggressively pursue and arrest alleged criminals like Blanton, deterring others like him and hopefully offering some solace to their victims.”