Two Fairbanks Men Plead Guilty to Federal Identity Theft Charges
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that Andrew Mac Saunders, 43, and Ian David Bowman, 30, both of Fairbanks, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to federal identity theft charges.
According to court documents, on Jan. 19, 2018, the Alaska State Troopers (AST) responded to a report that Saunders and Bowman were perpetrating a scheme to manufacture and use counterfeit identification documents and counterfeit checks. A search warrant was executed on their shared residence in Fairbanks, where AST seized three computers, three external hard drives, a flip camera, a scanner, check printer paper, blank check papers, and printers containing blank check papers.
The seized computers contained at least 51 unique counterfeit identification documents, including Alaska State Driver’s Licenses of actual other persons. Ten of the counterfeit identification documents displayed Saunders’ photograph along with the names and addresses of other actual persons; 21 of the documents displayed Bowman’s photograph; and 20 other documents displayed the photographs of their co-conspirators. Numerous stolen items were also seized that contained the names and personal information of actual persons, including 19 Alaska State ID cards, a real U.S. passport, W-2 and W-4 documents, tax forms, and U.S. mail. Saunders, Bowman, and their co-conspirators also used the seized laptop and printers to manufacture and print counterfeit checks with routing numbers and account numbers of numerous other actual persons’ bank accounts. The routing numbers were obtained by stealing mail from numerous people, including people in Fairbanks and North Pole, Alaska.
The investigation revealed that the purpose of the scheme was for Saunders, Bowman and their co-conspirators to use the counterfeit identification documents and counterfeit checks to fraudulently purchase, among other things, cell phones and other items in Fairbanks and North Pole. After using the counterfeit identification documents and checks to purchase these items, many of the items were sold for cash. The investigation further revealed that Saunders, Bowman and their co-conspirators used the proceeds obtained from these sales to purchase illegal narcotics.
The sentencing hearings have been scheduled for June 7, 2019, in Fairbanks. Saunders and Bowman each face a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or both, on the charges. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendants. As part of their plea agreements, Saunders and Bowman have also agreed to pay restitution to victims for costs associated with credit monitoring services, among other things, which will be determined at sentencing.
The Alaska State Troopers (AST) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation leading to the charges in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan D. Tansey and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Corso.