With the aid of a confidential source, the FBI has arrested members of an alleged identity theft ring that stole more than $1.1 million while operating in California, Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana and Texas.
From its Southern California base, the group of seven individuals led by a convicted burglar/drug dealer/forger obtained bank customer identities and used insider information plus counterfeit documents to steal funds from more than 500 customers at JP Morgan Chase & Co. and U.S. Bank, according to an FBI report.
If government agents are right, the group acted with brazen stupidity by accessing bank customer accounts from phones registered in their own names, a mind-numbing tactic easily unraveled by on-the-ball, bank investigators.
Using airline, airport, phone and bank records plus information from the confidential source, federal agents placed the group under surveillance and in March raided the Los Angeles home of suspected ring leader Hardy Jones, according to the FBI.
Agents claim in court records that they found approximately 100 counterfeit drivers licenses, social security cards and credit cards as well as $35,897 in cash and ledgers containing stolen bank customer data.
In a interview with the FBI, Jones allegedly admitted that he paid $200 for fake drivers licenses and just $25 for a counterfeit credit card.
Agents report that the alleged thieves used stolen money to purchase clothes and jewelry.
Those accused with Jones included Llewellyn Dickson, Raymond Gooddie, Bridgette Boylan, Takisha Johnson, Andrea Hadley and Patricia Green, according to court records.
All but Hadley have been arrested.
The alleged conspiracy involved multiple generations.
The oldest of the accused was born in 1949; the youngest in 1975.
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An Assistant United States Attorney inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse will prosecutor the case.
A judge has not yet been selected.