A man who calls himself Geovanni Kasanova conspired with female JPMorgan Chase bank tellers in order to steal personal information from at least 80 different bank accounts, ABC News reports.
Kasanova - also known as Richard Dames - led an identity theft
ring that included five other people. At least two of the accused claimed to have been seduced by Dames, and were acting under the influence of love. Dames' attorney, Michael Mays, believes the media is blowing the story out of proportion. "It sounds sexy, but it's just a fiction," Mays told the news source. "I'm not telling you he's an angel, but I'm telling you he's not some identity theft
kingpin." It appears Dames also used bribes to obtain personal information from the women, as court papers note that both Kia Wylie and Makila Williams accepted money in exchange for the identity authentication
information listed in the bank's computer system. The employees then copied account holders' signature cards to forge their signatures. Robert Anthony Evans, Williams' attorney, stated that his client was simply a victim of naivety. "She's 25 years old, attending a college in New Rochelle, was working at TD Bank when she was arrested and had worked at Chase previously," Evans said, quoted by the news source. "She's what I call a civilian. There's no life of crime." The Daily Mail points out that the ring also consisted of two male employees, who used bank computers to search for the birthdates and Social Security numbers of their victims. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. added that in addition to using technology to steal identities, the ring members pickpocketed people on the streets and withdrew funds to buy expensive items such as electronics from bank branches as far north as Michigan and as far south as Texas, according to ABC News. Dames had previously been indicted on grand larceny charges in 2004. Mays adds that he believes the public has twisted the story to seem more dramatic. "This idea that he's a mastermind is ridiculous," Mays said, quoted by the media outlet "The idea that he doesn't use a gun to rob, but kisses them to death is insane." If convicted, each suspect faces up to 25 years in prison.