A man and woman have been charged with stealing the identities of at least two New Jersey residents and then using the victims’ personal information to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, and make large out-of-state purchases totaling tens of thousands of dollars, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Westfield Police Chief David Wayman jointly announced Friday.
Alphonso J. Johnson, 38, of Lawrenceville, Georgia and Charmaine L. Williams, 40, of Youngstown, Ohio each is charged with second-degree identity theft and second-degree theft by deception, with bail set at $250,000 and $100,000, respectively, by state Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim. Both defendants are awaiting extradition after having been recently apprehended in Georgia.
The date was December 1 when the Westfield Police Department received information from an alleged victim who reported that a repossession company called her to inquire about a vehicle that had been rented in her name but never returned, according to the investigation. A joint investigation that grew to also involve Union County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Kraus and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit also revealed the existence of a second victim, a Bloomsbury resident who had her personal information allegedly stolen and used to open up a bank account and a credit card in her name.
The defendants also are alleged to have obtained fraudulent New Jersey drivers’ licenses with the personal information of their victims listed on them, but photos of the defendants. The total estimated value of the alleged thefts connected to the stolen personal information was in excess of $80,000.
Second-degree charges carry typical sentences of five to 10 years in state prison.
This investigation remains active, as it is believed that there may be additional victims. Anyone with additional information about the activities of these defendants or anyone who believes that he or she may have been a victim of a similar incident of identity theft is being urged to contact Westfield Police Detective Dennis DaSilva at 908-789-6085 or Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Jamieson Antonio at 908-527-4641.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.