Illustration by I-5 Design

New sketched out the organization. “Jackboys” were responsible for breaking into cars. They would smash up spark plugs, keeping the pieces in their mouths, then pop the windows with the fragments, cracking the glass. “They wrap something around their arm and break it,” New explained. The jackboys hit gyms and daycare centers. “They like Starbucks,” New said. “Women like to hurry and rush in and leave their purses in the car with the door open.” The jackboys were careful to use ordinary vehicles that wouldn’t draw attention. “They never use the cars with the rims. No flashy cars.”

The aim was to scoop up as much of the sensitive personal information from a victim as possible. “We want your social security card,” New explained, “’cause you’ve got to have that number to get the information from the bank. We’re going to look for credit cards that have your bank emblem on it, ’cause we’re going to know what bank you go to so we don’t have to call all the banks. Then I call all the credit cards, the numbers on the back, and put in your account number and see what your credit is on the cards. How we test them to see if they’re still on or if they’ve been reported is by going to a gas station and just slide it through. If it says ‘See Attendant,’ we know it’s burnt. And then we have to keep the ID, the social security card, and one major credit card, ’cause you need the second form of ID to do the check.”

New’s role was as a “casher.” Taking a stolen ID from one victim and a stolen check from another victim, she would write a check to the name of the person on the ID — and then dress like that person and go cash the check.

The charade involved theater-major panache. Cashers dressed up in wigs, dyed their hair, and donned makeup to pull off the scam. “I even played a black lady and a Chinese lady,” New bragged to cops in her interrogation. “The wigs make it.”

The crew had a set payment plan for cashers: If they cashed checks between $1,800 and $2,500, they walked away with $400; checks between $1,000 and $1,800 got the casher $200. Another scam had the casher walking into stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s to open new cards and immediately buy merchandise; the bill would be sent to the victim weeks later.

Kyle Swenson, writing in the Broward New Times about a ring of ID thieves known as the Felony Lane Gang.

Read the story