Brighton man arrested in identity theft operation in Boston’s Downtown Crossing

A Brighton man arrested this morning in Boston Common was allegedly the leader of an extensive criminal enterprise in the Downtown Crossing area, the attorney general’s office said today.

Based at a kiosk at 449 Washington St., Shahab “David” Yousheei, 36, allegedly led a large identity theft operation.

In one scheme, he allegedly used stolen identities to open mobile phone accounts, obtaining smartphones and other high-end electronics at discounts for new account holders. He then sold them at higher prices.

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In another scheme, he allegedly provided an illegal credit card “encoder” to his associates that used fake or stolen identities to make credit cards. The associates then allegedly used the bogus cards to buy thousands of dollars worth of electronics.

“He sold those electronics goods at a much higher price in Downtown Crossing and, we believe, also shipped some of those overseas,” Coakley said.

Finally, Yousheei allegedly accepted and bought counterfeit money. He was arrested in the Common after allegedly purchasing counterfeit money, which he used as part of his schemes.

Coakley said that at a minimum tens of thousands of dollars had been stolen. “My guess is it’s much more than that,” she said.

“Today is a good day. We’ve taken a dangerous criminal off the street,” said Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis.

Coakley said investigators did not yet know how many associates, or “runners,” Yousheei had working for him, but “we know it was pretty extensive.” She added that more people could “potentially” face charges, and she declined to comment when asked if any of the runners were cooperating with law enforcement.

“In many ways, this case illustrate the new face of crime. One that uses computers as the weapon of choice and one that robs people of their identities and their financial information instead of just their possessions,” she said.

She thanked the State Police, Boston police and US Secret Service for cooperating in the investigation.

Yousheei, who is to be arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court, faces charges that include identity theft, falsely making a credit card, using a fraudulent credit card, receiving goods purchased with a fraudulent credit card, and possession of counterfeit money, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said anyone who purchased merchandise from 449 Washington St. should immediately check their credit card for fraudulent activity.

“This address and this kiosk — anyone who had a purchase at that location should certainly check not just their credit card but their credit rating report,” Coakley said.