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Press Release

Trio Sentenced In Fake Id Conspiracy Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Alan Jones, Mark Bernardo, Kelly McPhee Have Admitted To Producing, Selling Fraudulent Driver’s Licenses Nationwide

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – The three Charlottesville residents convicted of producing tens of thousands of fraudulent driver’s licenses and shipping them across the country were sentenced this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Alan McNeil Jones, 32, Kelly Erin McPhee, 31, and Mark Gil Bernardo, 28, all of Charlottesville, Va., previously waived their rights to be indicted and pled guilty to a two-count Information. The three defendants each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identification document fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

This morning in District Court, they three were sentenced to the following: Jones was sentenced to 60 months of federal incarceration; Bernardo was sentenced to 40 months of federal incarceration and McPhee was sentenced to 25 months of federal incarceration. In addition, each defendant will serve three years of supervised release after their respective prison terms.

“These three defendants developed a sophisticated scheme to produce and sell high-quality false identification documents throughout the nation,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “Their criminal enterprise was tremendously lucrative, generating profits of more than $3 million over several years. The sentences handed down today reflect how serious these crimes were. Law enforcement personnel will continue to take every available step to recover these counterfeit driver’s licenses and ensure that they cannot be used to facilitate additional criminal activity.”

“Regardless of the reasons for seeking fraudulent documents we focus to detect, deter and dismantle individuals and organizations that present an active threat to national security or public safety, and who seek to undermine the integrity of the laws and regulations of the United States,” said Scot Rittenberg, Acting Special Agent in Charge, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, Washington.

Previously, Jones, McPhee and Bernardo admitted to conspiring to create high-quality, fraudulent driver’s licenses out of the home they shared on Rugby Road in Charlottesville. The conspiracy, which began in 2010 and operated under the name Novel Design, produced and sold more than 25,000 fraudulent driver’s licenses, primarily to college students, throughout the nation.

As part of the scheme, Jones paid commissions to students at the University of Virginia, and elsewhere, to refer his service to other students interested in obtaining fraudulent driver’s licenses. He also outsourced some of the manufacturing work to companies in Bangladesh and China.

During the entire period of time in which Novel Design was in operation, Jones, McPhee and Bernardo produced approximately 25,000 fraudulent driver’s licenses for customers. They charged customers anywhere from $75 to $125 per fake license and the three obtained more than $3 million from customers. To date, over $2.7 million in assets have been seized by law enforcement.

At the height of the conspiracy, Jones, McPhee and Bernardo, were able to create fraudulent driver’s licenses for the states of Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The investigation of the case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) Washington, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Attorney General’s Computer Forensics Unit. United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy and Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Huber are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated April 10, 2015