Ashley Bautista, also known as Young Ash, is a 22 year old rapper from the Bronx, New York with a massive social media following. Bautista was arrested in New York City this week and was indicted for allegedly enticing her fans to give her their credit cards, ATM cards, and banking information, as part of a scheme known as “card cracking”. Five other people were also charged.
The 22 year old Bautista, who describes herself as “single”, pleaded “not guilty” to two counts grand larceny and one count of “scheme to defraud” in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday.
Court documents charge that Bautista and 5 other defendents “obtained victims’ personal information, deposited forged checks, and used ATM cards to withdraw funds from the accounts as part of a coordinated scheme known as “card cracking.”
The Manhattan District Attorney says Bautista’s co-defendents took pictures of people’s checks and used those photographs to forge new checks. The DA says that Bautista leveraged her huge social media following to entice more people into the scheme.
The charge says, “ASHLEY BAUTISTA, 22, used social media to bring others into the scheme, posting ads on Snapchat and offering individuals money in exchange for use of their ATM cards and bank accounts so that the forged checks could be deposited into the accounts by MOLINA, HENRIQUEZ, and others.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Bautista’s Huge Social Media Following Allegedly Allowed Her to Act As a “Recruiter” in the Scheme
Bautista lives in the Bronx, New York and studied “style and design” at Bronx Community College, according to her Facebook page. The page also says that she went to high school at Bronx Regional High School
But Bautista’s Twitter account, which has many fewer followers, is full of pictures of wads of cash, with captions saying, for example, “If you serious about making money RT & I’ll inbox u.. Don’t waste my time”.
The DA’s office charges that Bautista also posted ads on Snapchat. The DA says that Bautista offered people money in exchange for letting her, and her co-defendents, use their bank accounts so that the forged checks could be deposited into their accounts. The DA also says that the defendents then withdrew the money from the accounts using people’s ATM cards.
2. One of Bautista’s Co-defendents Was a Concierge at a Luxury Building, Where He Had Access to Personal Checks
One of Bautista’s co-defendents is a man named Gabriel Molina. Molina was a “concierge” at a luxury apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. One of his jobs was collecting rent checks from tenants in the building.
The DA’s office charges that Molina was secretly taking photographs of the rent checks. He and his co-defendents would then, allegedly, use those photographs to create convincing forgeries of checks.
Then, they allegedly deposited the forged checks into the bank accounts of Bautista’s fans. And they used the fans’ ATM cards to withdraw the money, so they now had money which couldn’t be easily traced back to the forged checks.
Three “runners,” who have also been charged, would be sent to pick up the ATM cards, deposit the checks, and withdraw the money. Their names are Justin Simon, 22, Jarod Bailey, 21 and a third person called “JD Glasses.”
3. Bautista Was Charged With a Class D Felony And Has Been Released Without Bail
Bautista was charged with two counts of grand larceny in the third degree. This is a class D felony.
She was also charged with one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree. This is also a class D felony.
The New York Post reported that she was released without bail. Bautista lives in the Bronx, New York.
4. The DA’s Office Says More Than $62,000 Was Stolen
The District Attorney says that between August and September of 2017, the co-defendants stole $62,550.
The DA’s office calls this type of money laundering scheme “card cracking.” Prosecutors say they have been trying to crack down on card cracking. A statement from District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. read,
“‘Card cracking’ scammers with large followings on Snapchat and other platforms are luring people into their schemes by showing off designer merchandise, luxury cars, and stacks of cash. Social media users who see these posts promising quick, fast money should know that they are scams, they are illegal, and those who coordinate and participate in them may find themselves facing criminal charges like the ones contained in today’s indictment.”
5. In Bautista’s Single “Money” She Brags About “Making Millions” and “Living Lavish”
The video for Bautista’s single “Money” is full of shots of money. There are close-ups of bills, with Bautista’s face superimposed into the middle of them.
The lyrics are mainly about making money. Bautista brags about “making millions” and “living lavish.”
Bautista’s YouTube page describes her as “Young female voice from the Bronx emboldening women to rise to their power, with the ability to switch from dancehall to trap, from R&B to rap. A natural storyteller and a gifted singer and rapper, Young Ash has lots to say and a fresh, dope way of saying it! Follow me on!”