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Press Release

Memphis Man Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Tennessee

Memphis, TN – A Memphis man has pleaded guilty to possession of accessing devices with intent to defraud and aggravated identity theft. U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant of the Western Division of Tennessee announced the guilty plea today.

According to information presented at the plea hearing on April 9, between June 2011 and July 2016, Melvin Gene Griggs Jr., 32, used the identifying information of multiple victims to access victims’ credit card and bank accounts.

U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Aggravated identity theft and schemes to defraud or compromise the personal and financial security of countless vulnerable victims will not be tolerated. This case demonstrates our commitment to protect the personal and financial information of citizens and institutions, and to hold offenders accountable for these disturbing crimes of dishonesty. We are pleased to work with our federal and local law enforcement partners to achieve justice for the victims in this case."

During the course of the investigation, the government found that the personal identifying information of over 400 victims had been compromised. The information included credit card numbers, CVV2 numbers, ATM pin numbers, bank names, routing and bank account numbers, phone numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, mothers’ maiden names, AOL IDs, email address and physical addresses.

The scheme to defraud included opening new accounts in the victim’s name and/or adding himself as an authorized user to a victim’s account. Griggs would then have credit cards and financial statements from the accounts mailed to him. The credit cards were used to make purchases at local retailers and online. He also obtained money from victims’ bank accounts by wire transfers and cashing checks.

"Identity theft has a huge financial and emotional impact on the individual victims involved and the American public as a whole. This investigation is an excellent example of partnership between federal law enforcement agencies working together," said David M. McGinnis, Inspector in Charge, Charlotte Division. "I fully commend the hard work and countless hours put forth by all of the law enforcement agencies involved, which resulted in bringing this individual to justice."

Griggs faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and 3 years supervised release. The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on August 10, 2018 by U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker.

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Secret Service and the Memphis Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lorraine Craig is prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated April 12, 2018