Baltimore man imprisoned in identity-theft scheme

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

November 22, 2007|By MATTHEW DOLAN

One of the people responsible for a scheme to steal the identities of at least 15 people was sentenced to 61 months in prison yesterday in federal court in Baltimore.

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Lavon Caldwell, 25, of Baltimore to also serve three years of supervised release on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Bennett also ordered Caldwell to pay restitution of $414,323.30.

According to the plea agreement, Caldwell, Nekia Hunter and others purchased at least $320,000 in retail goods and $220,000 in automobiles using fraudulently opened credit accounts in the names of the victims without intending to pay for the goods.

As part of the scheme, Hunter bought credit reports of mortgage applicants, documents that contained the names and addresses, Social Security numbers, credit and other identifying information.

Hunter falsified Maryland driver's licenses in the names and addresses of the victims by using her associates' photographs. Caldwell then used the licenses to open credit accounts in the names of the victims, and then used the temporary credit cards to buy high-priced goods, such as plasma televisions and building materials.

The goods were then sold for cash, and the cash split among those involved in the identity-theft ring. Hunter pleaded guilty Aug. 17 and is scheduled for sentencing in December.

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