SOMERVILLE, NJ - A Jersey City man with a long history of identity theft convictions has been convicted of of stealing the identity of a Mendham man and draining $74,000 from his savings account.
A Somerset County Jury found Saeed Cousar, 42, of Jersey City guilty of 3rd degree theft by deception and 3rd degree identity theft following a six-day jury trial in Somerville, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
Cousar’s arrest and conviction stem from an investigation conducted by the Bedminster Township Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit after a Mendham resident reported his identity and money stolen in July, 2013.
The victim contacted his bank, located in Bedminster, and the police after receiving his savings account statement and discovering that more than $74,000 was missing from his account. Thereafter, detectives investigated and identified Cousar who was and connected to the theft based on a variety of records, including internet service provider, cellular telephone, bank, and utility records, according to Robertson.
The investigation revealed that Cousar used the victim’s stolen identifying information to open fraudulent online banking and fraudulent checking accounts in the victim’s name, and thereafter transfer money from the victim’s legitimate savings account to the fraudulent accounts. In November, 2013, police executed a search warrant on defendant’s Jersey City residence and found papers containing the personal identifying information of dozens of individuals.
The jury deliberated approximately three hours before returning a guilty verdict. Following the conviction, Judge Edward M. Coleman revoked the defendant’s bail and remanded him to the Somerset County Jail. Cousar is scheduled to be sentenced on June 16, at which time he faces ten years in prison with a five year period of parole ineligibility based on his extensive criminal history.
Cousar's criminal history is extensive, according to Robertson, including 17 prior indictable and felony convictions in New Jersey and elsewhere, including convictions for 3rd degree computer criminal activity in Ocean County; 3rd degree identity theft in Morris County; 3rd degree theft by deception in Essex County; 3rd degree issuing bad checks, 3rd degree wrongful impersonation and 3rd degree theft by deception in Hudson County; 3rd degree fraudulent use of a credit card in Bergen County; 3rd degree identity theft in Hudson County; 3rd degree attempted theft by deception in Hudson County and 3rd degree theft by deception in Hudson County.
Also, 2nd degree receiving stolen property and 3rd degree possession with intent to distribute CDS within 1000 feet of a school and 3rd degree attempted theft by deception in Hudson County; 3rd degree burglary and resisting arrest in Hudson County, according to Robertson.
Cousar's prior convictions also include a June 24, 1997 felony conviction for uttering a forged instrument in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and a July 18, 1995 felony conviction for uttering a forged instrument in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, according to Robertson.
The following law enforcement agencies assisted with the investigation: the Union County Prosecutor’s Office; the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office; Denville police, Manchester Township police and the Jersey City Police Department.
The State was represented by Chief Assistant Prosecutor W. Brian Stack.