EDISON, NJ - Detectives charged a 35-year-old Elizabeth man Friday with identity theft and fraud after a five-month joint investigation with Elizabeth police and U.S. Postal Inspectors, officials said in a press release.
Police said James C. Clay is being held without bail at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick after police arrested him at his home on Thursday and seized his computers, smartphones and other evidence that police Det. Jeff Tierney said may result in more criminal charges.
Edison police began their investigation last October after several Edison residents reported being the victims of identity theft, Tierney said.
Tierney said the victims’ online accounts were allegedly hacked, their mail was diverted, and loans and credit cards were allegedly applied for and received.
“This is a crime of the future, that’s here today,” Tierney said in the release. “The search warrant that Edison police received for Mr. Clay’s residence is one of the first in New Jersey ever issued to municipal police for an investigation into such a sophisticated identity theft case.”
Police Chief Thomas Bryan praised the arrest, saying “it’s no longer enough for municipal police departments to focus their effort on traditional thefts or ordinary burglaries.”
“I find it shameful that these days people’s finances can be hijacked and their identities stolen with a few computer keystrokes,” Chief Bryan said. “Edison police, I am proud to say, are taking a proactive approach to apprehend criminals behind these modern-day crimes.”
Tierney said the investigation and search warrants were accomplished with assistance and support from federal Postal Inspector Brenden Nally, Elizabeth police Det. James Szpond and Edison’s Criminal Investigation Bureau commanders Lt. Frank Todd and Sgt. Brian Mieczkowski, along with several of their detectives.