Stealing identities is one of the fastest growing crimes, but several recent arrests and prosecutions of suspected identity theft rings demonstrate how authorities are cracking down on this scourge.
Ohio Ringleader Gets 10 Years
An Ohio man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for operating an identity theft ring and recruiting people to open unauthorized lines of credit, WKYC reports.
Brian Lumbus Jr. provided forged driver's licenses and stolen account information to others in his identity theft ring. Police say there were more than $500,000 of losses at four different banks and more than $500,000 of false retail credit lines.
Eleven ring members have already been convicted and are serving their sentences.
Feds Bust Minnesota's Largest ID Theft Ring
Dozens have been charged with targeting thousands of victims via banks, Instagram and door-to-door sales in what authorities are calling the largest identity theft ring in Minnesota history, TwinCities.com reports.
Accused of stealing more than $2 million with fake checks and stolen identities, the 28 defendants include a former branch supervisor from TCF Bank, a former teller from Central bank and a door-to-door meat salesman who would copy customers' check information. Runners would then cash these counterfeit checks.
In addition to getting account information from banks and legitimate customer checks, authorities say the ring also stole banking information from Instagram photos of victims posing with their first paychecks under the hashtag #myfirstpaycheck.
Wisconsin ID Thieves Sentenced in Multi-State Scam
A Kohl's employee's suspicion led to two convictions in a retail fraud and identity theft scam that stretched across several states, according to Fox6.
Verita Hines-Flagg and her nephew Benjamin Hines hastily purchased a variety of jewelry from a Wisconsin Kohl's store, which prompted an employee to follow them to what turned out to be two stolen SUVs.
The employee alerted authorities who uncovered other ID theft scams by the family and a ring of fencers who sold the stolen goods. Six law enforcement agencies untangled a multi-state identity theft ring that ultimately landed Hines-Flagg and Hines in prison.
Hines-Flagg was sentenced to 5 years in prison and Hines was sentenced to 18 months.
New York Man Faces 37 ID Theft Charges
A Bronx man was charged with 37 counts related to identity theft for his alleged role in an identity theft ring, News10 reports.
Prosecutors say Abdulnasir Usman and three others had dozens of questionable credit and gift cards. Those items were seized by police and determined to be fraudulently acquired or counterfeit. Usman was charged with identity theft and possession of a forgery instrument.