An Upper West Side woman stands accused of defrauding numerous apartment buildings across the city, upstate, and in New Jersey in furtherance of gang-related activity.
According to the recently unsealed indictment, 35-year-old Latoya Williams was arrested at a West 61st Street high-rise on October 5 and charged with aggravated identity theft and wire fraud.
The arrest location – where authorities reportedly found several hundred thousand dollars in a bed frame – is allegedly “the internet address [Williams] used to fill out rental applications … and the one [she] gave to the New York Police Department in June when she reported a car stolen from the parking garage, a white Bentley.”
The F.B.I. has been keeping tabs on Williams for some time based on the federal court filings. An agent investigating various federal offenses allegedly committed by violent street gangs primarily based in Queens identified Williams as a participant in the scheme.
According to the agent’s affidavit, “WILLIAMS has used forged identification documents, paystubs, tax documents, and other falsified paperwork to obtain property rentals and utility services in high-end apartment buildings in and around New York City. The investigation has shown that apartments rented by WILLIAMS consistently have unpaid or underpaid rent, past-due balances, and other uncollected fees. This has resulted, among other things, in lawsuits and debt collections being initiated against victims of identity theft in order to collect money owed for apartments leased fraudulently in their names. Further, the leased apartments have been used by members of various violent gangs to store contraband. For example, at one of the involved apartments in Brooklyn, New York, members of the Wood City street gang possessed five firearms which were recovered by police during an arrest.”
The affidavit goes on to link defendant Williams to apartments in Bushwick and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, one in Yonkers, and another in Bayonne, New Jersey. She was released on a $250,000 bond and cannot leave the borders of New York City or Long Island. She was also ordered to avoid all potential witnesses and known gang members, surrender her passport, and report for pretrial services. Williams’ electronic devices are also to be monitored.
In the meantime, the government and Williams are engaged in plea negotiations to settle the matter without trial.