– Attorney General Paula T. Dow and
Criminal Justice Director
Stephen J. Taylor announced that a woman
pleaded guilty to theft and a second woman
was sentenced to state prison today in a
million-dollar mortgage and credit card
scheme they conducted in Bergen County.
to Director Taylor, Yu Jane Chen, a.k.a.
Yu Tang, 43, of Naperville, Illinois, pleaded
guilty to second-degree theft by deception
before Superior Court Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi
in Bergen County. The state will recommend
a sentence in the second-degree range of
five to 10 years in prison. Chen must pay
restitution of $1,153,375, for which she
is jointly and severally liable with her
co-defendants. Sentencing is scheduled for
November 19. Chen, who was arrested in May
by the Naperville Police, is being held
in the Bergen County Jail with bail set
today, co-defendant Yi Feng Reid, a.k.a.
Penny Reid, 49, formerly of Closter, N.J.,
and now of Irvine, Calif., was sentenced
to three years in state prison by Judge
DeAvila-Silebi. Reid pleaded guilty on May
6 to second-degree theft by deception. Under
her plea agreement, the state recommended
that she be sentenced as a third-degree
offender. She is also jointly and severally
liable for restitution of $1,153,375.
Attorney General Francine Ehrenberg is prosecuting
the case and handled today’s court
hearing for Division of Criminal Justice
Major Crimes Bureau, which investigated
charges against Chen and Reid were contained
in a June 26, 2009 state grand jury indictment.
Two men, George Liu, 34, and Ji Gang Chen,
54, are charged in the same indictment with
one count each of conspiracy, theft by deception
and identity theft. Both men once lived
in New York, and now reside in China. The
charges are pending against those men, who
are considered fugitives.
investigation revealed that Reid and Yu
Jane Chen were involved in the mortgage
and small business loan industry in the
Bergen County area. They unlawfully used
the identities of other people to obtain
mortgages, other types of loans and unauthorized
credit card accounts from 2004 through mid-2007.
Some victims gave Reid and Yu Jane Chen
their personal and financial information
while seeking and obtaining a loan. Other
victims provided their personal information
while beginning the loan process, then elected
not to seek a loan. The victims later learned
that their names had been used to secure
unauthorized mortgages, loans and credit
and Yu Jane Chen were the principal co-conspirators.
With their help, co-defendant George Liu
allegedly obtained two mortgages on a family
member’s house totaling $314,000 by
using that relative’s identity, along
with false tax returns and phony employment
information. Co-defendant Ji Gang Chen,
assisted by the women, allegedly obtained
four mortgages on a family member’s
house totaling $446,000, using the relative’s
identity and false employment and wage information.
all, the four defendants were charged with
obtaining seven mortgages totaling $850,000
by using stolen identities and false information.
In addition, 13 bank-approved loans and
credit accounts worth a total of more than
$300,000 were opened using stolen identities.
Numerous banks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey
and New York were defrauded.
James H. MacInnes and Deputy Attorney General
Ehrenberg conducted the investigation for
the Division of Criminal Justice under the
direction of Supervising Deputy Attorney
General Terrence Hull, chief of the Major
investigation revealed that, among other
things, Reid and Yu Jane Chen used checks,
credit card transactions and cash proceeds
from their unlawfully-obtained accounts
to make ATM withdrawals, and to buy goods
at supermarkets, gas stations, toy stores,
jewelry stores and other retail outlets.
Other credit and cash proceeds were used
to pay for ponies to entertain Reid’s
child, to pay Reid’s nanny, to pay
for the EZ Pass account of a Reid family
member and to pay the expenses of Reid-operated
investigation further revealed that Yu Jane
Chen used credit and cash proceeds to make
a variety of jewelry purchases, and to pay
the expenses of several businesses in which
she was involved. Thousands of dollars also
went to pay a spiritual adviser shared by
both Reid and Yu Jane Chen. In some cases,
proceeds from the unauthorized loans were
used to make payments on other fraudulently-obtained
charges against Liu and Ji Gang Chen are
merely accusations and they are presumed
innocent until proven guilty.