Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Michael Lee Kelly, age 34, of Baltimore, today to 45 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft arising from a scheme to buy luxury vehicles using the personal identity information of others. On January 6, 2015, Judge Bennett sentenced co-conspirator Michael Christopher Marshall, age 35, also of Baltimore, who was the leader of the scheme, to 61 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for the same offenses.
The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office.
According to their plea agreements, from December 2009 to November 2010, Kelly and Marshall selected automobiles to buy from Maryland dealerships. They used the identities of others to finance the purchase of the vehicles because they knew that they would not qualify for financing using their own identities. In some cases, others were willing to allow the defendants to use their identities. In other cases, the defendants used stolen identity information, a counterfeit identification document and an imposter posing as the victim to complete the purchases.
For example, in December 2009, Marshall used the identity of another whose identity was stolen to purchase a 2007 Mercedes S550 from a car dealer in Owings Mills, Maryland.
In May of 2010, Marshall asked Kelly to find an individual who was about the same age as another man whose identity had been stolen. Kelly recruited his uncle, Guillermo Torres, to pose as this victim, and obtained a counterfeit identification bearing the personal identity of the victim but the picture of Torres. On May 28, 2010, Kelly drove Torres to a car dealer where Torres waited outside while Kelly selected a 2007 Mercedes S-550 and completed an application to purchase the car. Torres then signed as the victim and used the counterfeit driver’s license to obtain financing. On that same date, Marshall and Kelly drove Torres to another auto dealer where Torres again posed as the victim and provided the counterfeit driver’s license in order to obtain financing of a 2008 BMW and a 2009 Audi S5.
During Marshall’s participation in the conspiracy, he and his co-conspirators obtained or attempted to obtain between $400,000 and $1 million in financing, and defrauded between 10 and 50 individuals and financial institutions. During Kelly’s participation in the conspiracy, he and his co-conspirators obtained or attempted to obtain between $200,000 and $400,000 in financing, and defrauded at least 10 individuals and institutions.
Guillermo Torres, age 50, of Owings Mills, previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 15, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Secret Service for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamera L. Fine, who prosecuted the case.