On March 15, an Ontario woman’s vehicle was broken into at Casey Park, resulting in the theft of her purse containing identification, checks, and credit cards. Subsequently, on March 24, a woman attempted to cash a stolen and forged check worth $3,200 at a Lyons National Bank drive-through teller in Wolcott. The teller’s suspicions were aroused, and the woman fled the scene.
Using surveillance footage from another case in Syracuse, State Police Investigators identified the woman from the Lyons National Bank incident. Erin L. Hilliard, 38, of Syracuse was arrested on March 24 for various charges, including identity theft, grand larceny, forgery, falsifying business records, possession of forged instruments, criminal impersonation, conspiracy, and unlawful possession of personal identification.
Hilliard was also charged on April 17 in connection with the town of Ontario case, including identity theft, unlawful possession of personal identification, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal impersonation. She was released back to the Onondaga County Jail, where she is being held without bail.
Hilliard is believed to be part of the Felony Lane Gang, a national crime syndicate that targets women, particularly mothers, by breaking into their vehicles and stealing their purses. The gang recruits women, often suffering from addiction, to cash stolen checks or use stolen credit cards. These women attempt to impersonate the victims by wearing wigs, scarfs, sunglasses, and makeup.
The Felony Lane Gang Task Force and the FBI have identified and arrested over 1,500 members of the gang nationwide. Social media monitoring and the members’ own selfies and boasting have led to many arrests.
Robert Natson, 37, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty on April 12 to his role in the Felony Lane Gang between 2015 and 2020. He admitted to being responsible for losses of up to $40,000. Eight other members were charged in a 13-count indictment, with five already pleading guilty. The remaining defendants are scheduled for trial in federal court on July 10, 2023.
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