A former employee at the in Commack was indicted on Monday on nearly 50 charges, after authorities say he stole the identity of 56 individuals with brain injuries and used them to file false state and federal tax returns.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota called 30-year-old Benjamin Achampong a "shameless, incorrigible thief and forger.”
Achampong - a former resident of Port Jefferson Station and Coram - was extradited to Suffolk last week as he sat in a Georgia prison on 16 identity theft charges.
He stands charged on 48 counts in Suffolk, alleging grand larceny in the third degree, identity theft in the second degree, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and possession of a forged instrument in the second degree.
Authorities said the investigation to find the suspect lasted 14 months, and Achampong ran his scheme during his employment with LIHIA from 2006 to 2007. He reportedly cashed checks ranging in value from $200 to $2,000.
“The financial information included in the phony returns - bearing a patient’s name and social security number - was entirely false," said Spota. “The investigation found that he used the identities of girlfriends, and even his brother, to open accounts in which to deposit the proceeds from his crimes."
Achampong pleaded not guilty at his arraignment before Suffolk County Judge Gary Weber, who set cash bail at $50,000 and bond bail at $100,000.
In Georgia, Achampong was facing charges for allegedly using a fake credit card to purchase items from BJ's last November.
The D.A.'s office said he was arrested in Nassau County in 2009 for identity theft and other charges after he stole the identity of a developmentally disabled man. He pleaded guilty, and received a jail sentence and probation.
The LIHIA, which is set to move into new headquarters in Hauppauge, offered the following statement: "The agency is shocked and appalled by the possible victimization of our clients by this former employee. This person separated from our agency in 2006. Sometime in 2011, the agency was contacted by law enforcement. We fully cooperated with their investigation and turned over all information and records that could assist them in this situation."