|[Photo from mortgage foreclosure.org]|
As a former federal prosecutor, (and, currently, as an Augusta, Georgia criminal defense lawyer), I have often predicted that, sadly, most of us will eventually become victims of identity theft. But this week, thanks to the good work of federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, at least one organized crime ring, which focuses on identity theft and bank fraud, has "bitten the dust!"
According to various news reports, four members of an Armenian organized crime conspiracy were found guilty in Los Angeles federal court of one of the largest bank fraud and identity theft schemes in California history.
According to reports, the enterprise was headed by one of the defendants, Arman Sharopetrosian. The four defendants operated their criminal enterprise out of their prison cells. They reportedly used cell phones to access Social Security numbers and birth dates of innocent victims and used the information to steal over $10 million from victims' bank accounts. (Just imagine what they might have accomplished if they had not already been incarcerated!?)
The defendants will be sentenced at a later date. And they will face some really tough federal statutory and guidelines sentencing! Each count of federal bank fraud carries with it a 30 year statutory maximum. Also, each count of aggravated identity theft carries with it a mandatory two year prison sentence which must run consecutive to any other counts! Hopefully, these guys also won't be allowed to keep their cell phones!
Have you ever been a victim of identity theft or fraud? Do you know someone who has?