Members of four separate ID theft rings -- groups of people who work together to steal personal information and then use it to commit crimes -- were arrested, convicted or sentenced this month across the United States. Punishment for the crime can range from probation to include years in prison and harsh fines.
Washington Duo Accused of Operating ID Theft Ring
Police arrested a Washington state couple on Dec. 13 for masterminding an identity-theft ring that involved at least 26 other people, according to The Everett Herald.
The crime ring is believed to be responsible for stealing personal information from homes, businesses, cars and mailboxes to commit financial fraud. Police say there may be hundreds of victims, whose combined losses may exceed $200,000.
20 Texans Accused of Stealing People's Identities
A woman who partook in a massive identity theft ring in East Texas was sentenced on Dec. 12 to 10 years probation, according to KLTV Televison in Tyler, Texas.
The sentence was handed down to Kimberly Stewart, described as a low-level participant among 20 East Texans accused of stealing personal information and using it to open bank accounts and take out fraudulent loans. Two other defendants who prosecutors say had the same level of involvement as Stewart were previously given the same sentence.
One alleged ring leader, Russell Lowerie, was earlier sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Credit Card Fraud Ring Targeted Florida Mall
A woman awaits her March sentencing after being convicted by a Florida federal jury of multiple charges related to a credit card fraud and identity theft ring that focused on credit card terminals at International Mall in Tampa, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Four of the woman's cohorts pleaded guilty to charges for their roles in the conspiracy to use key loggers that intercepted and stored information from credit and debit cards swiped at the mall.
Illinois Says 3 Men Stole Thousands With Fake Debit Cards
Charges have been brought against three men for obtaining and using fraudulent debit cards to access thousands of dollars in cash, the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Dec. 17.
The men were charged with continuing a financial crimes enterprise, identity theft, financial institution fraud, conspiracy to commit a financial crime, wire fraud and computer fraud.
Madigan alleged that the defendants were part of an organized financial institution fraud ring in which fake debit cards were re-encoded with bank account information belonging to victims across the United States and overseas. Using fraudulent cards, the defendants allegedly accessed bank accounts and access codes of their victims in order to illegally withdraw thousands of dollars.
The accused were freed on $50,000 bonds and each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.