Nurse and her aspiring rapper fiance busted ‘for stealing $675,000 from elderly patients as part of identity theft ring’ after bragging about their lavish lifestyle on Facebook
- Amanda Zieminski, 26, accused of stealing 80 patient files from Staten Island clinic where she worked as a nurse until December
- Zieminski and Clyde Forteau allegedly used personal information to order new debit and credit cards, which they used to buy luxury goods
- Zieminski posted photo showing off her engagement ring after Forteau had proposed to her at Cinderella’s castle in Disney World
- Jerome ‘It’z Holly’ Forteau and Abdel ‘Chips’ Yousef arrested as part of the bust
- Police seized more than 50 credit cards and more than 20 fake or stolen driver’s licenses from Clyde Forteau’s BMW
By Snejana Farberov Daily Mail PUBLISHED: 18 July 2013
A couple from Staten Island, New York, have been living an over-the-top fairy tale for the past five years – but all that changed Wednesday when the pair were indicted on charges of identity theft and corruption after bragging about their misbegotten riches on Facebook.
Amanda Zieminski, known by her nickname ‘Meme Zee,’ worked for eight years as a nurse at the medical office of South Shore Physicians in Staten Island, where prosecutors say the 26-year-old stole personal information from patients that was used to order new debit and credit cards.
Zieminski, her fiance, aspiring rapper Clyde ‘C-Money CEO’ Forteau, 29, and their three suspected accomplices allegedly used the misappropriated cards to withdraw nearly $700,000 in cash, which the couple used to buy high-end jewellery, premium tickets to sporting events and go on a romantic Disney World vacation.
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Fairy tale: Zieminski (right) posted a photo showing off her engagement ring after Clyde Forteau had proposed to her at Cinderella’s castle in Disney World
And the accused thieved were not shy about their newfound wealth.
Both Forteau and Zieminski have been bragging about their lavish lifestyle on social media sites.
Officials say the 29-year-old suspect is seen in Facebook photos sitting in pricey seats at the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat and taking in a Jets game from field level, the Staten Island Advance reported.
‘Seeing so many homeless people on my way to work makes me realize how blessed I am,’ Zieminski wrote on June 28.
A series of pictures and a YouTube video posted on Zieminski’s page also show the couple living it up in Orlando, Florida, where Forteau had proposed marriage to the 26-year-old at Cinderella’s castle.
Co-defendants: Prosecutors say Jerome ‘It’z Holly’ Forteau (left), and Abdel ‘Chips’ Yousef (right) were part of the crime ring run by Jerome’s older brother and his fiancee
‘I’m living a fairy tale!!’ the blushing bride gushed in a Facebook post after the April proposal.
For the high-flying couple, their charmed existence came to an abrupt end on Wednesday when Zieminski, Forteau, his 24-year-old brother, Jerome ‘It’s Holly’ Forteau; 25-year-old Abdel ‘Chips’ Yousef and 52-year-old Carmen Rivera, were hit with identity theft and dozens of other criminal counts.
According to District Attorney Daniel Donovan, it all started in 2008 when Zieminski, who was working as a nurse at the Hyland Boulevard medical practice, stole about 80 patient files, deliberately targeting the elderly, and passed them on to her boyfriend.
The suspects then used personal information like Social Security numbers to order debits cards, apply for credit cards and even file income taxes to steal their victims’ tax refunds, according to prosecutors.
In total, investigators believe the criminal ring swiped at least $675,000 from unsuspecting patients.
The money went towards luxury items like baubles, cars, parties at exclusive clubs and expensive tickets to basketball and football games.
Storybook romance: In April, Zieminski (left) and her boyfriend went on vacation to Disney World, where the aspiring rapper asked her to marry him (right)
Clyde Forteau bragged online about sitting near Jay-Z at a Jets game, and in front of Aaron Hernandez – the disgraced New England Patriots tight end who has been charged with murder – at Game 6 of the NBA semifinals.
In December, Zieminski was fired from her job after she was caught inflating her work hours, but her fairy tale continued.
On April 28, the woman announced her engagement to Forteau: ‘Yesterday was the greatest day of my life. My love asked me to marry him in Cinderella’s Castle, glass slipper and all.’
An investigation into the suspected crime ring was launched in June 2012 when a victim’s TD Bank account address was switched from Staten Island to The Bronx, and a new debit card was ordered.
Over the course of four days, someone had withdrawn just under $25,000 from the account. One of the transactions that raised a red flag was a purchase of front-row tickets to the NBA playoff game.
Police traced the tickets to Clyde Forteau’s home in The Bronx, and they were later able to connect him to Zieminski, who was his classmate and fellow student athlete at the New York City College of Technology.
Following that discovery, investigators got a warrant to eavesdrop on Forteau and Zieminski’s cell phone conversations, which revealed that the suspects targeted many of their victims based on age.
Prosecutors say that the 29-year-old aspiring hip-hop star had even pretended to be a victim of Hurricane Sandy to explain his decision to move a bank account address from Staten Island to The Bronx.
Living in style: Investigators believe the couple and their accomplices stole about $675,000 from unsuspecting victims
A search of Forteau’s BMW 7 series car yielded more than 50 credit cards and more than 20 stolen and fake driver’s licenses.
Inside Zieminski’s car, police discovered a jacket that her fiancé used to wear when withdrawing money from ATMs, police said.
‘Make no mistake, Amanda Zieminski is no Cinderella and Clyde Forteau is far from prince charming,’ Donovan said. ‘However, this story does have a fairy-tale ending — for law enforcement.’
The New York Daily News reported that Forteau is being held on $460,000 bail, while his bride has been booked into jail on $405,000 bail
The engaged couple, Jerome Forteau and Abdel Yousef could face up to 25 years if convicted of identity theft and enterprise corruption. Rivera, who has been charged only with identity theft, faces up to seven years behind bars, according to the New York Post.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2368011/Nurse-aspiring-rapper-fiance-busted-stealing-675-000-elderly-patients-identity-theft-ring-bragging-lavish-lifestyle-Facebook.html#ixzz2ZNi8SEcz
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