Christopher Lindsey Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Orchestrating Elaborate Fraud And Identity Theft Conspiracy
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentence of CHRISTOPHER LINDSEY, 42, to 15 years in prison for orchestrating an identity theft, check, and tax fraud scheme that spanned more than 10 years. The defendant was sentenced on April 13, 2015, before Judge Donovan W. Frank.
“Christopher Lindsey is responsible for compromising the bank accounts of thousands of victims,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lola A. Velazquez-Aguilu. “He enlisted countless individuals into his schemes to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks and from taxpayers. The money he stole may never be repaid, but the fifteen-year sentence brings some measure of justice to those people whose lives he impacted.”
According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, between October 2002 and December 2013, LINDSEY coordinated an elaborate fraud and identity theft scheme. The defendant obtained legitimate bank account information, including names and addresses of businesses and individuals, bank routing and account numbers, check numbers, and signatures, from a variety of sources, including approximately 20,000 stolen checks. LINDSEY used that stolen information to make counterfeit checks, which were later cashed or deposited at various financial institutions and businesses throughout the Twin Cities. In total, LINDSEY and his co-conspirators attempted to steal more than $1 million.
According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, LINDSEY simultaneously led a conspiracy to submit false tax returns to the IRS. The defendant and his co-conspirators recruited individuals to file fraudulent tax returns. LINDSEY created fraudulent W-2s for the recruits, on which he combined the correct information of his co-conspirators, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, along with false information regarding employment, earnings, and withholdings. LINDSEY directed the filing of at least 40 fraudulent claims resulting in losses of more than $270,000.
These fraudulent tax refunds were loaded onto debit cards issued to some of the defendant’s co- conspirators. They, in turn, provided the debit cards to LINDSEY, who used them at make cash withdrawals from ATMs.
The investigation was conducted by the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, which is comprised of the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigations Division, the Minneapolis Police Department, the St. Paul Police Department, the Edina Police Department, the Duluth Police Department, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lola A. Velazquez-Aguilu.
CHRISTOPHER LINDSEY, 42
Brooklyn Park, Minn.
• Conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, 1 count
• Conspiracy to defraud the United States, 1 count
• Aggravated identity theft, 1 count
• 180 months in prison
• 5 years supervised release