News and Press Releases

Ring Purchased High-end Cars Using Other People’s Identities and Credit

July 11, 2008

JANATHAN MOORE, 26, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release and $11,496 in restitution for Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud, Social Security Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. MOORE was part of a scheme to use other people’s identities and credit to purchase luxury vehicles that they would later sell. The investigation was dubbed “Operation Joy Ride” because the defendants drove the luxury cars as their personal vehicles before selling them. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the sentence.

According to records filed in the case, MOORE and two co-defendants, Nathanial Wells and Tiffany Whitfield, used the personal information of three other people to create false Washington and California drivers licenses and California identity cards. The fake documents bore pictures of the co-conspirators. The trio used the fake IDs and the credit histories they adopted to apply for car loans to purchase vehicles in Washington and Nevada. MOORE attempted to purchase a 2001 Mercedes Benz, valued at $27,396 from a Nevada dealership. MOORE assisted in the illegal purchase of a 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT, valued at $42,324.42 and a 2006 Cadillac STS valued at $62,489. The total loss attributable to MOORE in the scheme was $132,210. MOORE was arrested when investigators learned of MOORE’s efforts to purchase the Mercedes and set up a sting. The vehicle was supposed to be delivered to MOORE at a Seattle Starbucks -- instead MOORE was taken into custody. MOORE pleaded guilty on April 4, 2008.

Co-defendants Nathanial Wells and Tiffany Whitfield were each sentenced May 16, 2008, to 70 months in prison.

The case was investigated by Social Security Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the FBI and Washington State Patrol.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally and Special Assistant United States Attorney Johanna Vanderlee. Ms. Vanderlee is an attorney with the Social Security Administration who is specially designated to handle identity theft and social security fraud cases in federal court. The case was pursued as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Working Group on Identity Theft.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office at (206) 553-4110.

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