Newark man pleads guilty to trafficking identities of 15 people

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Monday that an Essex County man pleaded guilty today to trafficking identities of 15 individuals who had applied for credit at the used car dealership where he worked.

Stuart Simpson, 52, of Newark, pleaded guilty to second-degree trafficking in personal identifying information pertaining to another person before Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim in Union County. The charge was contained in an April 12 state grand jury indictment.

Peim scheduled sentencing for Dec. 13.  Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Simpson be sentenced to three years in state prison.

In pleading guilty, Simpson admitted that, in September 2010, he distributed approximately 74 items of personal identifying information pertaining to 15 separate individuals, including, among other things, copies of driver’s licenses, applications for credit and/or credit reports containing personal identifying information. An investigation determined that the identity profiles corresponded to individuals who had applied for credit at the used–car dealership where Simpson worked.

“This defendant blatantly disregarded consumer confidentiality and now he will have to face the consequences,” said Hoffman. “Purchasing a car can be nerve-wracking enough, without the added stress of having your identity trafficked by people such as Simpson who are supposed to be facilitating the transaction.”

“This case is another demonstration that in an era of increasing digitalization of identifying information, the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will vigilantly protect the public interest,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said.

An undercover investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Simpson attempted to sell the identity profiles to a buyer in the parking lot of a restaurant on Route 22 in Union. The “buyer” was actually an undercover detective from the Division of Criminal Justice.  Simpson was arrested on March 24, 2011 as a result of the crime and was subsequently released on bail.

Deputy Attorney General T.J. Harker, Sgt. Jarek Pyrzanowski and Detectives Wendy Berg and Doug Mattei coordinated the investigation. Chillemi thanked the Gangs/Narcotics Unit – Central of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice for its assistance in the investigation.