A 27-year-old man had admitted to taking elaborate steps to use a 10-year-old child’s identity to steal cars from a Westchester dealership and will soon face jail time.
Nanuet resident Andre Mendez has pleaded guilty in Westchester County Court to identity theft and falsifying business records, both felonies. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and two counts of driving while intoxicated following incidents dating back to last year.
Mendez created a synthetic identity using his actual name and date of birth along with the Social Security number of an unsuspecting 10-year-old child. He proceeded to open bank accounts to establish credit with that identity.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. said that investigators found that Mendez was able to use the child’s Social Security number because banks and credit agencies had no record for the number, and therefore was unaware that it identified a child.
Once the accounts were established, Scarpino said that Mendez leased and financed motor vehicles using that synthetic identity, which could now sustain a credit check. In February last year, he financed a Toyota Camry from Westchester Toyota in Yonkers, giving the child’s social security number as his own. The following day he leased a Honda Accord in White Plains using the same identity.
Mendez made no payments toward either of the vehicles and had been driving both cars even though his license is revoked and the insurance has lapsed.
The investigation into Mendez began in May last year and led to his arrest in August as he left the Town of Greenburgh Court, where he was answering charges of aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and aggravated driving while intoxicated dating back to a case in March. Mendez allegedly drove to court in the stolen Toyota, and the Honda was later recovered at an auto body shop in the Bronx.
Mendez was arrested on Sept. 8 last year and has since been detained. He is due to be sentenced on Nov. 7, when he is expected to receive up to three years in Westchester County Jail. Mendez was also ordered to pay $14,551.73 in restitution for the Honda and $16,781.18 for the Toyota. He is also facing fines for each of his vehicular charges. His license has also been revoked for six months.
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