BROOKLYN — A Brooklyn man stole personal information from food stamp recipients — including an 89-year-old man — to scam them out of thousands of dollars in benefits, officials charged.
Kenley Stanislas, 46, impersonated a social services investigator to pressure at least 26 victims into sharing their Social Security numbers and food stamp account details, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office charged Tuesday.
Stanislas allegedly called the victims and threatened to discontinue their benefits if they did not comply with his request. He then tapped into their accounts and swindled a total of $6,000, according to charges.
"This case demonstrates why you should never give out any personal identifying information to strangers on the phone: the caller is likely to be a thief who wants to use that information for his or her own benefit," District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement.
When they wanted access to their accounts, the victims — who lost hundreds of dollars each — were told their accounts had been frozen or that their money had been used.
"This defendant repeatedly took advantage of his fellow New Yorkers by posing as an investigator and threatening them with loss of benefits, to steal food out of the mouths of children and vulnerable adults," New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doars said in a statement.
The crimes, which Stanislas allegedly committed from November 2011 through the end of January, occurred amidst a city debate over whether to fingerprint food stamp recipients to prevent fraud.
Stanislas could face up to 15 years in prison for his charges, including criminal possession of a public benefit card and grand larceny.