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ID Theft Ringleaders Face Stiff Sentences

Several people involved in identity theft rings were recently sentenced, while another two men face more than three decades in prison if convicted of stealing the identities of 4,200 victims. 

ID Theft Mastermind Sentenced for Duping Retailers

William Dodge was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for leading an identity theft ring that cost retailers almost $400,000, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The judge also ordered the 46-year-old Massachusetts man to pay restitution to the retailers for the full amount stolen.

Dodge's girlfriend worked in human resources at a Florida-based company and he paid her $3,000 to give him her co-workers' personal information, the Salem News reports. Along with at least five co-conspirators in 30 states, Dodge used these stolen identities to get fake drivers' licenses.

The accomplices or Dodge himself would pose as customers who'd lost their store credit card. They'd then ask the cashier to look up the account using the phony drivers licenses. If the person whose identity they were using had a credit card with the store, a member of Dodge's crew would charge items to the account. If not, they would later open an account under the stolen identity using their fake ID.

They would purchase gift cards or merchandise they could resell. As ringleader, Dodge took 50 percent of the other members' profits. Overall, the group netted more than $375,000 in merchandise and services, with Dodge personally responsible for more than $212,000 of the losses.

Retailers affected include J.C. Penney, Best Buy, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Kohl’s, Macy’s and T.J. Maxx.

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Ringleader Gets 12 Years for Stealing Government Employee Identities

The head of a ring that used hundreds of stolen government employee identities to steal almost $2.5 million was sentenced to 12 years in prison, UPI reports.

Jenaro Blalock, who pleaded guilty last year to stealing at least 600 identities, was also ordered to repay more than $1 million in restitution.

Between June 2011 and July 2013, Blalock and co-ringleader Christopher Bush recruited women with access to employee data from the State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development to hand over identity information from their employers.

Blalock, 31, and his theft ring then used the information to make fake driver's licenses, get retail credit cards and rent cars and then sell them on the black market with altered vehicle identification numbers.

Bush was sentenced in January to 10 years in prison for his role in the scams.

 

Tijuana-Based ID Theft Ring Indicted for Hacking Mortgage Broker Servers

Two men were indicted for their suspected role in a Tijuana-based conspiracy that hacked computer servers of a U.S. mortgage broker to steal customer information and siphon funds from thousands of customer accounts, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

California residents Jason Ray Bailey and Victor Alejandro Fernandez were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer hacking.  Authorities say the men impersonated the mortgage broker's customers, and then used their stolen personal information to open credit lines in their names and take their assets.

After gaining control of the accounts, Bailey and Fernandez allegedly wired funds from the victims’ brokerage accounts to U.S. bank accounts in the San Diego and Calexico areas. Some of these wires were for more than $20,000 and $30,000 each.

About 4,200 customers had their information stolen between December 2012 and June 2013, and the conspiracy dates back to July 2011.

Bailey and Fernandez, both 38, pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for a motion hearing and trial setting conference on April 11.

If convicted, both men face up to 35 years in prison and a fine of $1.25 million in the case.

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