TRENTON, NJ - Corey N. Blanton, 26, of Maplewood, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Jan. 22, to third-degree charges of impersonation/theft of identity and theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Robert A. Kirsch in Union County according to a statement from NJ Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

Blanton pleaded guilty to stealing the identity of a bank account holder and fraudulently obtaining a debit card in the account holder’s name that he used to make over $69,000 in purchases and withdrawals, stated Grewal.

Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Blanton be sentenced to three years in state prison. He will be required to pay full restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for March 8.

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According to the Office of the Attorney General, Blanton was indicted in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice which began when an investigator for Bank of America contacted the State Police about thefts involving the fraudulently obtained debit card.

The investigation showed that Blanton obtained personal information about the account holder that enabled him to order a new debit card and have it mailed to an address in Georgia, stated the Office of the Attorney General. Once Blanton received the debit card, he used it to make more than $69,000 in purchases and withdrawals in New Jersey and Georgia. Investigators identified Blanton as the man using the debit card and had a warrant issued for his arrest. Blanton was arrested in April 2017 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, according to the statement from the Attorney General's office.

“Identity theft and credit card fraud cause billions of dollars in losses each year to financial institutions and consumers,” said Grewal. “The best way to deter this conduct is to send fraudsters like Blanton to prison.”

“Our Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau aggressively investigates identity theft, financial fraud, and other types of white collar crime in collaboration with the New Jersey State Police, other law enforcement partners, and impacted financial institutions,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This case illustrates our determination to bring these criminals to justice.”

“Victims of identity theft not only suffer from financial loss, but are also traumatized by the invasion of their privacy,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “We will continue to aggressively pursue and arrest alleged criminals like Blanton, deterring others like him and hopefully offering some solace to their victims.”

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