Superior woman faces potential jail time for role in identity theft ringMINNEAPOLIS — A Superior woman involved in an identity-theft ring allegedly responsible for the theft of more than $2 million could spend up to 32 years in federal prison.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Superior woman involved in an identity-theft ring allegedly responsible for the theft of more than $2 million could spend up to 32 years in federal prison.
Frances Emily Jones, 41, pleaded guilty Jan. 17 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Minnesota.
Financial institutions and retail businesses in no fewer than 14 states were victimized by the ring.
A federal superseding indictment unsealed last week charges 12 people in connection with this identity-theft ring and outlines a complex plot to defraud banks and retail businesses, primarily in the Midwest. It alleges that from 2006 through December 2011, the defendants conspired with each other and unnamed individuals to defraud banks, bank customers and businesses. Through their places of employment, some members of the theft ring purportedly stole the identification information of other people, providing it to coconspirators who then used it to create false identification documents, such as driver’s license, identification cards and counterfeit checks. Identification information was allegedly stolen through mail theft, vehicle break-ins and business burglaries. Some was even reportedly purchased from other criminals.
According to the superseding indictment, the fraudulent identification documents and counterfeit checks were subsequently used by co-conspirators, named and unnamed, or those recruited by them, to purchase expensive items and gift cards at retail stores. Later, often that same day, after the receipts had been altered, the items were allegedly returned for cash and divided among those involved.
To avoid detection, coconspirators only accessed each bank account a few times before moving on to the next victim.
The 12 people named in the superseding indictment, all from Minnesota, have made initial appearances in federal court on charges ranging from conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft to bank fraud.