Fraudulent car dealer sentenced for aggravated identity theft and wire fraud conspiracy
ATLANTA - Farran S. Campbell has been sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of his fraud and deception, Campbell stole identities, took out fraudulent loans, claimed automobiles were for sale that he never possessed, and even claimed he was a physician.
“Campbell knew no limits on how far he would go to commit fraud, even committing it while charged with other crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “This defendant was especially conniving as he set up bogus businesses in the names of his victims, and then used those businesses to commit his loan fraud. With each new criminal who thinks they have developed a way to defraud, law enforcement is developing new techniques to catch them.”
“The sentence highlights the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct,” said Thomas J. Holloman, III, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “If you steal someone’s identity and knowingly use it to commit financial fraud, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 2 years in prison. Identity theft is a pervasive problem in our country and IRS-CI will continue to make these cases an investigative priority when they involve the filing of false refund claims and other related financial frauds.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Farran Campbell carried out a loan fraud scheme involving fake car dealerships and aggravated identity theft. Campbell incorporated car dealerships under state law, using stolen identities. He then used the newly organized car dealerships to apply for lines of credit from commercial lenders who specialize in “floor plan” loans to car dealers, specifically loans purportedly collateralized by the car dealer’s inventory.
Eventually, Campbell would default on the lines of credit. The lenders were unable to repossess the vehicles purportedly collateralizing the loan, which were often cars whose vehicle identification numbers Campbell had simply harvested from the Internet, without actually owning or possessing those vehicles. Campbell went so far as to have a criminal associate prepare a fake tax return in the name of one of his identity theft victims. The tax return, which was never filed with the IRS, showed substantial income and assets, and appears to have been created for the sole purpose of being provided to a lender as part of a fraudulent application for credit.
In 2014, Campbell set up a car dealership called Campbell’s Cars, LLC, using the stolen identity of O.C., a Georgia resident who had good credit, but no connection to Campbell or the business. Campbell then used the new car dealership entity and O.C.’s good credit to obtain a loan from a commercial lender. The lender was unable to recover its losses by repossessing the cars that were supposedly collateralizing the loan, and eventually sued O.C. to collect the debt.
On March 31, 2017, while Campbell was on bond in another federal case, agents executed search warrants at Campbell’s home and business. These searches caught Campbell “red-handed,” in the process of carrying out the same fraud scheme with a new lender and two new identity theft victims. At Campbell’s workplace, agents discovered a fake ID in the name of one of Campbell’s previous identity theft victims.
At Campbell’s home, agents discovered a complete loan package ready to be mailed to the lender from a new fake car dealership named Launch Auto Sales, more fake IDs in the names of two new identity theft victims, and pieces of paper on which Campbell had been practicing the signatures of the victims repetitively. Shortly thereafter, Campbell’s bond was revoked and he has been in custody since April 2017.
During the case, Campbell repeatedly claimed to be a physician, even though he is not. As part of this deception, Campbell had the same criminal associate prepare a fake income tax return for him claiming income from a local hospital and showing employment as a physician. This tax return was never filed with the IRS, and appears to have been intended to help Campbell get approved for a rental home. Campbell also swore out a false affidavit, which he provided to a DeKalb County Assistant District Attorney, in which he falsely claimed to be a licensed neurologist. The affidavit was submitted to the DeKalb County prosecutor as part of an unsuccessful attempt to convince that official to dismiss a car theft case pending against a friend of Campbell’s.
On May 8, 2017, Campbell entered a negotiated plea of guilty to a criminal information charging aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Campbell admitted that, from at least June 2014 through September 2014, he had conspired with others to commit wire fraud victimizing the commercial lender, and that he had also committed aggravated identity theft by using the identity of O.C. to apply for credit from the lender.
Farran S. Campbell, 32, of Brookhaven, Georgia, was sentenced on Tuesday March 20, 2018, by U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross, to four years, three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $31,724.70.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Secret Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alana R. Black prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.