BOSTON – A Peabody man was sentenced today for heading an identity theft ring that used the identities of a Florida company’s employees to cause $375,000 in credit card losses at large retail stores.
William Dodge, 46, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro to seven years in prison, three years of supervised release, $375,000 in restitution, and forfeiture of criminal proceeds. In May 2012, Dodge pleaded guilty to credit card fraud, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft.
When Dodge was in Florida, he met the benefits administrator for a Florida-based company and obtained from her lists of coworkers' identity information, such as their names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers. Dodge traveled to Boston where he and at least five co-conspirators obtained false identity cards bearing Dodge’s or the co-conspirators’ pictures and the Florida company employees’ personal information. The false identity cards looked like Massachusetts drivers’ licenses and allowed the co-conspirators to pose as the employees from the Florida company.
With the false identity cards, Dodge and the co-conspirators posed as the Florida company’s employees at large chain retail stores. When it came time to pay for the merchandise, Dodge and his co-conspirators lacked a working credit card number. So they pretended to have left their store credit card at home and asked the store to remind them of the number. The stores, taken in by the false identity cards, often complied. If the identity victim had no credit account at the store, Dodge and his co-conspirators applied for a new credit account in the identity victim’s name. Again, the stores, taken in by the false identity cards, often complied. Upon obtaining a new or existing credit card number, Dodge and his co-conspirators used the account to purchase gift cards and other merchandise, such as electronics, that they could resell. The stores lost money, because Dodge and the co-conspirators did not pay the credit bills.
As the group’s ringleader, Dodge directed his co-conspirators’ actions and took about 50% of their profits. The conspiracy netted over $375,000 in merchandise and services, with Dodge personally responsible by posing as an identity theft victim for over $212,000 of the losses.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans made the announcement today. The U.S. Attorney’s Office thanks the Florida company for cooperating during the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott L. Garland, formerly of Ortiz’s Cybercrime Unit and currently of the National Security and Anti-terrorism Unit.