Former Fresno-Area Auto Dealer Sentenced to 4.5 Years in Prison for Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An Italian national and a U.S. national, both New York residents, were sentenced on charges of conspiring to transfer false identification documents on the darknet marketplaces AlphaBay Market and Dream Market. According to court documents, from at least from May 2015 until October 2017, defendants Andrea Alessandrini and Evan Hayes sold New York state driver’s licenses, fraudulent identity information for individuals (including fake social security numbers and birthdates), credit card holograms, and ATM skimmers on the darknet, all in exchange for cryptocurrency.
On April 4, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California sentenced Evan Hayes, 28, of Buffalo, New York, to 18 months in prison, and on April 5, 2021, Alessandrini, 34, of Italy, was sentenced to 20 months in prison, for their roles in the charged identity fraud conspiracy. Alessandrini and Hayes pleaded guilty to the offenses on Nov. 16, 2020, and July 12, 2021, respectively.
According to court filings and statements made in connection with the defendants’ guilty pleas, Alessandrini created and operated the vendor account PlasticA on numerous darknet marketplaces, including AlphaBay Market and Dream Market. With his business partner, Hayes, Alessandrini sold over 300 fraudulent New York identity cards, four social security cards, 15 false birth certificates, 28 state identity card holograms, one ATM skimmer, and 410 “farmed” (i.e., stolen or fraudulently produced) identity packages to buyers in the Eastern District of California and elsewhere. Alessandrini operated the primary darknet accounts used to make these sales, while Hayes produced and mailed most of the fraudulent documents sold. On AlphaBay alone, Alessandrini and Hayes conducted between $250,000 and $400,000 worth of transactions between May 2015 and October 2017.
In connection with the case, the United States seized evidence concerning the wide range of fraudulent identity documents created and sold to buyers throughout the United States, evidence which has been shared with a range of law enforcement agencies for use in additional investigations. Finally, the United States forfeited the proceeds of the offense conduct, which included approximately $134,881 in U.S. currency, 14.78 bitcoins, 285 ounces of silver, 4 ounces of gold, and 22 prepaid Visa gift cards.
The FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
Senior Counsel Louisa K. Marion of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hemesath of the Eastern District of California prosecuted the case.