Running Amok

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When people are said to “run amok,” chaos ensues and things can get out of control. Fraudsters are adept at creating chaos as today’s article depicts. Two brothers from Newport News, Virginia used stolen identities to apply for and open bank and retail store accounts. (That undoubtedly caused a lot of chaos for their victims.) Their $1.5 million identity theft fraud scheme involved using the hijacked personal information to create fake documents that included their own photographs. Read on to find out what these two brothers were able to accomplish before their scam ran amok.

Over two years, the two men used their fake IDs to impersonate their victims. Since their photos were on the IDs, they were able to pose as their victims to open cell phone accounts across multiple carriers. (They also used those accounts to purchase additional cell phones on credit.) Once they had the phones and phone numbers, the two applied for even more accounts in the victims’ names to include checking, savings, credit and consumer loans. (Their identity theft fraud scheme was running like a well-oiled machine. They successfully borrowed thousands of dollars to buy luxury vehicles, travel abroad and complete extensive home repairs.)

Once the brothers were approved for the loans, they directed the lenders to mail the loan checks to addresses linked to their victims. (But, these two co-conspirators knew where to intercept and redirect the checks.) The deceptive duo took the checks to various lender branches in the Hampton Roads and Tidewater areas, posed as the borrower, and cashed the checks.

Further research shows that the scheme went deeper as they became more successful at their ruse. The two fraudsters recruited cell phone carrier employees to compromise existing business customer accounts by naming them as authorized account managers. They used this distinction to place bulk orders for iPhones, iPads and Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets. (Then, along with these devices and others obtained in their victims’ names, the brothers sold everything for cash. They attempted to make more than $1.5 million.)

The 31-year-old brother from Norfolk and his 26-year-old brother from Newport News pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and identity theft fraud. While both men faced a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, the older brother was sentenced to 16 years behind bars and his little brother got 13 years. (While these two had quite the identity theft fraud scheme running at the time, they eventually ran out of gas and got stuck in their own muck.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Two brothers sentenced for local identity theft scheme,” posted on WAVY.com on January 24, 2019.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Two brothers who conspired to use stolen identities to apply for and open accounts at banks and stores have been sentenced. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said 31-year-old Darrell Clark, of Norfolk, and 26-year-old Demarcus Clark, of Newport News, pleaded guilty last July to charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and identity theft. 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.