Central Ohio Identity Theft Ring Leader Sentenced to Prison
Co-conspirators used lines of store credit to buy merchandise
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Kwame E. McCauley, 37, of Galena, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 60 months in prison for his role in stealing identities to obtain and use new and existing in-store lines of credit at well-known retailers.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, William Cheung, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, Columbus Police Interim Chief Thomas Quinlan, Yvonne Dicristoforo, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service and other members of the Southern Ohio Financial Crimes Task Force announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
McCauley was the lead of five defendants charged in this case.
According to court documents, from January 2014 until January 2016, the group bought store merchandise after fraudulently obtaining new and using existing credit from retail stores. McCauley obtained victims’ social security numbers and dates of birth. Afterwards, he ran their credit history reports from websites like creditkarma.com.
McCauley provided false identification cards containing the victims’ information but actually bearing photographs of the co-defendants who were “shoppers.” The group would travel to various clothing and electronics retail stores in the Southern District of Ohio and elsewhere, including Indiana and Pennsylvania. Examples of the stores include Best Buy, Elder Beerman, Buckle, Menard’s, Meijer and Cabela’s.
The group would review the victims’ credit history reports and personal information prior to arrival at the retail stores so the defendants could answer any qualifying questions that the stores used to screen credit applicants. The group opened new and used existing lines of credit on approximately 80 separate occasions causing $150,000 of loss from the retailers.
The other defendants charged in this case include Deangelo D. Simms, 26, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Shirley M. Dillen, 43, of Westerville, Ohio; Julie E. Ring, 38, of Columbus, Ohio and Robert S. Tingler, 32, of Columbus, Ohio. Tingler has been sentenced to 24 months in prison and was ordered to pay approximately $7,400 in restitution. Dillen has been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay approximately $4,300 in restitution. Ring has been sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay nearly $2,000 in restitution.
“The sentence handed down today highlights the seriousness of Kwame McCauley’s conduct,” said William Cheung, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “The defendants in this case created havoc on the retailers and the individuals whom identities were stolen and used to open lines of credit.”
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the IRS-CI, Columbus Police and other members of the Southern Ohio Financial Crimes Task Force, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan J.C. Grey, who is prosecuting the case.
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