Up-and-coming rapper Young Ash has been arrested for her role in a “card cracking” scam in which she flexed on Snapchat with stacks of cash in order to recruit other participants.
The artist, whose real name is Ashley Bautista, 22, of the Bronx, allegedly was part of a crew of six that stole the identities of tenants at a luxury high-rise complex on the Upper West Side between August and September in order to rake in at least $50,000 in stolen funds.
The fraud revolved around 32-year-old Gabriel Molina, who worked as a concierge at 63rd West Realty and “cracked” bank accounts by taking photographs of rent checks submitted by tenants, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Frayluis Henriquez, 23, would then allegedly help him forge checks using the stolen information to be deposited into bank accounts provided by others involved in the swindle. The group exposed Bautista’s popularity to try to boost its illicit membership, an assistant district attorney said.
“Ms. Bautista used her fame online as an up-and-coming rap star to recruit and solicit younger individuals into giving over their bank cards with personal information,” ADA Alona Katz said at her arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Bautista pleaded not guilty to grand larceny and scheme to defraud and was released without bail.
“If you from the Bronx with an active chase account and wanna make money the same day no scams you’ll see exactly what’s going on … hmuuuuuuu NEW YORK AREA ONLY,” she allegedly wrote in one post over a backdrop of a pile of $20 bills.
Prosecutors filed a 74-count indictment against the individuals with charges including identity theft, grand larceny, scheme to defraud, criminal possession of a forged instrument and unlawful possession of personal information.
Molina was ordered held on $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash bail after entering a not guilty plea.
“Any evidence against Mr. Molina is circumstantial at best and I believe he will be exonerated completely,” Molina’s attorney, Jeffrey Chabrowe, said after the arraignment.
We’ve seen variations of this scam on social media for quite some time. Let this be a lesson — rarely ever is there a such thing as ‘easy money.’