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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Leader Of Identity Fraud Ring Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison

The leader of an identity fraud ring was sentenced to 22 years in prison today following his conviction for wire fraud and identity theft, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

U.S. District Court Judge Sean F. Cox imposed sentence on Gerald Bass, 45, of Detroit.

On August 7, 2012, a jury convicted Bass of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. The evidence at trial established that Bass was the leader of a group of conspirators who stole victims’ identification information and accessed their credit accounts at retail stores such as J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, Lowes and Home Depot. Bass and his co-conspirators used this
information to obtain merchandise worth tens of thousands of dollars.

At sentencing, Judge Cox stated that Bass’s lengthy criminal record, including his 13 prior convictions for crimes involving theft and dishonesty, was a significant a factor in his sentencing decision.  Judge Cox also stated that although the possibility of a long prison sentence had not deterred this defendant Bass from victimizing the public, perhaps Bass’s sentence might deter others from committing this kind of crime.

“Anyone who has had their identity or credit card stolen knows that identity fraud causes serious harm to victims, who can spend years repairing their credit history. Today’s sentence sends a strong message that identity thieves will pay a steep price.” McQuade said.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Michigan State Police, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Abed Hammoud and Patrick Hurford.

Updated March 19, 2015