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Identity theft scheme lands five in jail

Five people have been sentenced for federal crimes after falsifying IDs in order to illegally withdraw money from other peoples' bank accounts. The individuals involved allegedly created fake driver's licenses in order to withdraw funds from what a U.S. Attorney said was dozens of bank accounts.

The FBI became involved in this identity theft scheme, and officials say that one man appears to have started the plan in early 2010. He reportedly pulled information from the internet about the individuals' bank accounts, credit cards, and tax information in order to collect enough information to carry out the bank thefts.

He then enlisted the help of other people who could hire people to physically enter the banks and withdraw money at the counter while pretending to be the account holders. A total of approximately $1.4 million was successfully withdrawn from over 60 bank accounts during the length of the operation.

The five men were sentenced to between three and seven years in prison, and they were ordered to collectively repay over $2.75 million is restitution.

Crimes involving banks generally draw federal attention because of the federal protection that banks have. The FBI and the Secret Service were involved in this case, both because of the involvement of banks and the identity theft aspect of the case.

Someone who has been arrested on suspicion of identity theft or bank fraud should know that an experienced criminal law attorney with federal experience can make the difference between reduced charges and sentences and a lifetime spent in jail.

Source: LoanSafe.org, "Five Defendants Sentenced for Withdrawing $1.5 Million Using Fraudulent Identities," Evan Bedard, Feb. 6, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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