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Document and Benefit Fraud

New Jersey man charged in identity theft scheme

Allegedly used old court records to obtain identifying information defrauding more than 100 victims

PHILADELPHIA — A 37-year-old Phillipsburg, New Jersey, man was indicted in an identity theft scheme following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Damian Gasdaska was charged May 29 with one count of conspiracy, six counts of wire fraud, seven counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum possible sentence of 335 years in prison, a five-year period of supervised release, a $9 million fine and a $1,500 special assessment and restitution.

The indictment alleges that Gasdaska and his co-conspirators, Randall McMahon, of Easton, Pennsylvania, and John Cordero, of Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, both charged elsewhere, obtained and used personal identifying information to create false identities, which he then utilized in various ways, such as applying for credit cards and purchasing or renting vehicles. One way in which Gasdaska obtained the personal identifying information was from old court records.

Gasdaska allegedly took steps to create favorable credit profiles for these false identities, and to improve the individuals' credit profiles. These steps included obtaining reports on the individuals, requesting the modification of information in the reports, and engaging in transactions in the names of the false identities to improve their credit profiles.

Gasdaska allegedly prepared or obtained false driver's licenses, Social Security cards, college identifications, insurance cards, employment records, and bills and invoices. He allegedly provided some of the fraudulent credit cards he acquired to his co-conspirators and kept some for himself.

According to the indictment, during the conspiracy, Gasdaska used post office boxes in the name of the false identities to receive mail for various purposes, such as in connection with credit card applications, and used computers at public libraries to further the conspiracy. After co-conspirators made their purchases, they often provided the purchased items to Gasdaska who then sold them and paid the co-conspirators for their illegal services.

The U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Lehigh County Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Task Force assisted in the investigation.