Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Multi-State Identity Theft Charges
PITTSBURGH, PA – A resident of Blacklick, Ohio, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy, transfer of a false identification document, mail fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Albert McCall, 55, pleaded guilty to six counts before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab after jury selection and opening statements, but before the presentation of any evidence.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that McCall engaged in a conspiracy to violate various federal identity theft laws, harming victims from across the country. McCall and his co-conspirators obtained the victims’ personal identification information by purchasing the information on the dark web or through a variety of other means. Using embossing machines and card reader/writer tools, McCall created counterfeit identification documents, such as Ohio drivers’ licenses, and produced fraudulent credit cards that functioned as though they were real. McCall and his co-conspirators then used the counterfeit driver licenses and credit cards to purchase merchandise and rent hotel rooms and cars in the victims’ names. Further, they used the counterfeit identification documents to open lines of credit in victims’ names and without their knowledge, including a line of credit used to purchase more than $7,000 worth of jewelry from the Kay Jewelers in the Ross Park Mall. Investigators interrupted McCall’s criminal plot to use victims’ identities to purchase vehicles using the counterfeit driver licenses and stolen personal identification information.
The investigation included the use of an undercover federal law enforcement officer, who communicated with McCall and purchased from McCall a counterfeit Ohio driver’s license. McCall was arrested by the police department in Warren, Michigan, and the cellular telephones found on his person at the time of his arrest linked him to much of the criminal conduct at issue. Search warrants executed both in Ohio and in Pennsylvania provided further evidence of McCall’s extensive multi-state identity-theft scams.
Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for November 27, 2018 at 9:30 AM. The law provides for a total sentence of not less than two years and up to 82 years in prison, a fine of $1,500,000.00, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court ordered McCall detained.
Assistant United States Attorneys Brendan T. Conway and Christy C. Wiegand are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The United States Secret Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service, in conjunction with multiple police departments in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including police departments from Columbus, Ohio, Canfield, Ohio, Bucks County, Ohio, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ross Township, Pennsylvania, and Wilkins Township, Pennsylvania, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of McCall.