A student from the island of Jamaica who was working at the Hermitage Resort on Napeague this summer was arrested last Thursday for allegedly stealing the identity of a fellow worker and then attempting to transfer almost $4,000 from his PayPal account.
East Hampton Town detectives said Anthony Martin, 24, had committed a “crime of opportunity” after a colleague in the resort’s office left for the day without shutting down his computer. “At around 4 p.m., Randy was getting off from work, so when he got up from his computer, I sat down,” Mr. Martin told detectives during an interview at police headquarters in Wainscott.
“I noticed Randy left his PayPal account open,” he stated. Within an hour, he said, he had purchased a playstation 4 and a FIFA soccer video game, for $400. “I made it for next-day air [delivery].”
He told police he had changed his co-worker’s password and email address on the account. He then had work-related jobs to do around the resort. At 7 p.m., though, he was back at the computer, setting up a new PayPal account for himself and transferring money into it through his co-worker’s bank account.
The next morning, when Rahadmes Pagan tried to log into his PayPal account, he was unable. He called the company, which told him of the changes to his account. All of Mr. Martin’s alleged transactions were canceled, and police were brought in.
At his arraignment Friday morning in East Hampton Town Justice Court, Mr. Martin told Justice Lisa Rana that he was a student at the University of Technology in Jamaica.
“When does he think he is going back home?” Justice Rana asked Brian Francese, a Legal Aid Society attorney representing the defendant. “Next week,” he replied. “That’s not happening,” Justice Rana said, setting bail at $1,000 for the felony charge of identity theft.
Mr. Francese questioned the “voluntariousness” of Mr. Martin’s statement, which is available as a public record for viewing at the courthouse. However, the detective who interviewed Mr. Martin had him initial slight changes, standard police procedure to ensure that if a statement is challenged, the defendant can be shown to have been aware of what he was saying.
A man with a long criminal record and an East Hampton taxi permit was arrested soon after midnight Friday outside the Memory Motel in Montauk, on misdemeanor drug possession charges. Police said Joseph C. Amendola of Seaford, 42, who was parked in the middle of the road when they approached, did not have a valid driver’s license, and the vehicle he was driving was uninsured. When officers searched it, they found “seven large clear plastic bags,” all containing marijuana, in the back hatch. Mr. Amendola was also said to be in possession of “two large, clear vials” of hashish oil.
In court the next day, Mr. Amendola told Justice Steven Tekulsky that he had a town taxi permit and was working to support his sister, whose son, he said, has leukemia. When Justice Tekulsky pointed out that Mr. Amendola has a prior felony conviction for attempted possession of a narcotic with intent to distribute, the defendant looked surprised. “I am very disappointed that is on my record,” he said. “I was supposed to have pled guilty to possession.”
Justice Tekulsky then observed there were misdemeanor convictions in his past as well, including assault. He set bail at $1,000, which Mr. Amendola immediately posted.
Told of the case the next day, Supervisor Larry Cantwell said that under the town’s new taxi laws Mr. Amendola’s permit would have been rescinded the next time he applied. Background reviews, which were not regularly held before, are now scheduled every two years, said the supervisor.