News and Press Releases

Member of Identity Theft Ring Sentenced to over Six Years in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2008

Las Vegas, Nev. – One of 24 individuals charged in 2006 with using false identification cards, counterfeit credit cards, and counterfeit checks to purchase merchandise from retail stores and sell it on internet auction web sites, such as "eBay," was sentenced today to just over six years in prison, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Johnny Mize, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George to 75 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $8,000 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in June 2008 to conspiracy, production of false identification documents, possession and transfer of five or more false identification documents, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. All of the defendants originally charged in the case pleaded guilty to conspiracy and various other theft and fraud charges pursuant to a group plea/package plea agreement. The sentence of imprisonment ordered in Mize's case is the largest imposed thus far against members of this conspiracy. To date, 21 defendants have been sentenced, and 11 other defendants have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment of three years or more.

"As this case demonstrates, the federal government will investigate and prosecute you if you sell stolen items online," said U.S. Attorney Brower.

According to the court records, the defendants illegally obtained goods and merchandise from merchants in the Las Vegas area and elsewhere by utilizing a variety of unlawful and fraudulent methods, including but not limited to identity theft and bank fraud. The stolen property was then transported, sometimes between states, to locations in the Las Vegas area where it was sold by Johnny Mize and others to co-defendants Sharon Simon and Shannon Simon for approximately one-half of its retail value. The stolen property was stored and concealed by Sharon Simon and Shannon Simon until it was sold to innocent purchasers via computer internet auction web sites, such as "eBay." Johnny Mize and his co-defendants then shipped the stolen properties to the innocent purchasers, and payments were deposited into bank accounts and computer internet accounts controlled by co-defendants Sharon Simon and Shannon Simon. Ultimately, the unlawfully and fraudulently obtained monies were used for the personal benefit of the defendants.

Some of the goods that the defendants unlawfully and fraudulent obtained were expensive watches made by Monte Blanc and Baume & Mercier, tool kits, and televisions. They allegedly used counterfeit checks drawn on Bank of America, Sun West Bank, Nevada Federal Credit Union, Silver State Bank, and Silver State Schools Credit Union, and false driver's licenses, identification cards, and birth certificates from Nevada and Colorado.

Mize has an extensive criminal history that includes felony convictions in Nevada and Utah for forgery, burglary, and felon in possession of a firearm.

This investigation was conducted by the Southwestern Identity Theft and Fraud Task Force (SWIFT), comprised of representatives of the United States Secret Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and Henderson Police Department. Other agencies assisting in the investigation are the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Frayn.

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