Brothers Plead Guilty to ID Theft and Bank Fraud Scheme
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Two brothers pleaded guilty today to conspiracy, mail fraud, and identity theft charges.
According to court documents, Darrell Clark, 31, of Norfolk, and Demarcus Clark, 26, of Newport News, conspired for more than two years to use stolen identities to apply for and open accounts at banks and retail stores. The two men created fake IDs, including driver’s licenses and Social Security cards, bearing their victims’ identifying information alongside their own photographs. The brothers used these IDs to impersonate their victims throughout the scheme. Posing as victims, the brothers opened cell phone accounts with various carriers and used those accounts to obtain multiple cell phones on credit. The brothers used these cell phones to apply for additional accounts in the victims’ names, including checking, savings, credit, and consumer loan accounts. Through these applications, the brothers successfully borrowed thousands of dollars, purportedly to fund high-end vehicle purchases, foreign travel, and extensive home repairs. The brothers directed lenders, including Navy Federal Credit Union and Langley Federal Credit Union, to mail loan checks to addresses associated with their victims. The brothers then intercepted and redirected these shipments. Loan checks in hand, they forged victim signatures and then cashed those at lender branches in Hampton Roads and Tidewater by posing as the borrower and, for vehicle loans, recruiting others to pose as vehicle sellers.
As the scheme progressed, the brothers recruited cell phone carrier employees to compromise existing business customer accounts by naming the two as authorized account managers. The brothers then used the compromised accounts to place bulk orders for electronic devices, including iPhones, iPads, and Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets. The brothers sold these devices, along with those obtained in identity theft victims’ names, for cash. Through all of this conduct, the brothers attempted to defraud local financial institutions and retailers of more than $1.5 million.
The Clark brothers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and mail fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Each man faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, along with a mandatory minimum, consecutive penalty of two years in prison when sentenced on October 25. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Eric Shen, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Steve R. Drew, Chief of Newport News Police, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Howard J. Zlotnick and Kaitlin G. Cooke are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:17-cr-126.