Essex County man sentenced to 3 years in state prison for identity trafficking

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John Hoffman has announced that an Essex County man was sentenced to state prison today for trafficking identities of 15 individuals who had applied for credit at the used-car dealership where he worked as a salesman.

Stuart Simpson, 52, of Newark, was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim in Union County. The sentence was based on Simpson’s guilty plea to second-degree trafficking in personal identifying information pertaining to another person. The charge was contained in an April 12 state grand jury indictment.

In pleading guilty on Sept. 23, 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.

“Consumer confidentiality and trust in the system is paramount to anyone buying a car,” said Hoffman. “Simpson brazenly disregarded this confidentiality and instead used his position as a used-car salesman to gain access to, and criminally traffic in, personal identifying information.”

“By pursuing prison sentences such as the one imposed today, the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will seek to deter criminals who prey on innocent consumers,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi.

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. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked the Gangs/Narcotics Unit – Central of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice for its assistance in the investigation.