Former Lonsdale Debt Collector Sentenced To 175 Months In Prison For Attempting To Steal More Than $700,000 Through Identity Theft And Fraud
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentencing of KHEMALL JOKHOO, 36, to 175 months in federal prison for attempting to steal more than $700,000 by using the identities of more than 60 victims. On November 5, 2013, a jury in United States District Court in Minneapolis convicted JOKHOO of all the charges presented to them, including Aggravated Identity Theft, Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and False Personation of an Officer or Employee of the United States.
“Identity theft is a widespread problem,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “Working with our partners in local and federal law enforcement, including the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, we stopped this defendant from targeting additional victims. Only through continued partnership among law enforcement officials will we stem the tide of financial fraud and identity theft. There is more work to be done.”
As proven at trial and according to documents filed in court, JOKHOO, formerly registered as a debt collector, was the owner and sole employer of First Financial Services, Inc. (First Financial), a collection agency licensed in Minnesota from May 9, 2002, until November 3, 2009. As a debt collector, the defendant had access to sensitive credit information, including social security numbers, bank account information, dates of birth, addresses, and other identifying information of the victims of his scheme. JOKHOO used this information to harass and intimidate victims and to demand payment to him for purported debts. When he could not convince victims to pay him, JOKHOO impersonated victims, using their bank account and other identifying information to take over and steal directly from their accounts.
According to documents filed in court, JOKHOO, in addition to using intimidation tactics, threatened victims with physical harm if they did not pay him. With regard to one victim, a disabled veteran, the defendant threatened to “push his wheelchair over the bridge,” if he did not pay. JOKHOO also targeted elderly victims as part of his scheme. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lola Velazquez-Aguilu said: “The term ‘identity theft’ seems an inadequate description for what the defendant did to the victims in this case. He used their identifying information not only to steal their money, but also to terrorize them, taking pleasure in making other human beings feel completely powerless and without worth. This defendant’s sentence
sends an important message to debt collectors who use their positions of trust to steal.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Velazquez-Aguilu and LeeAnn K. Bell prosecuted this case.
The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, Minnesota Department of Commerce, United States Postal Inspection Service, and Lonsdale Police Department conducted the investigation.
The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force was established under state law, and is comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement investigators, who work to combat the growing trend of cross-jurisdictional financial crimes.
• Bank Fraud, 11 counts
• Aggravated Identity Theft, 10 counts
• Mail Fraud, 9 counts
• Wire Fraud, 2 counts
• False Personation of an Officer or Employee of the United States, 1 count
• 175 Months in federal prison
• 5 years supervised release