Two Georgia residents were sentenced to federal prison, following a scheme that sought to steal the identity of elderly individuals.
The two criminals, Durrell Tyler and DeShawn Johnson, both plead guilty to charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to officials from the Department of Justice, Tyler and Johnson purchased personal information from dark net markets and used the information to open credit accounts in the name of their victims. After opening the accounts, the duo forwarded the phone lines, mailing addresses, and the emails of their victims to their control.
Therefore, the two men would have direct contact with the creditors, and the victims could not learn about the fraud.
“Criminals using dark net markets to steal identities wreak havoc on the lives of individuals and compromise the financial security of victims,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “While law enforcement is focused on investigating and prosecuting these individuals, citizens are reminded to be vigilant with their personal identifiable information.”
In total, the group victimized 75 people around the United States, causing $130,000 in actual and intended loss.
“These defendants motivated by greed targeted our most vulnerable population by seeking the identities of older individuals to violate their personal and financial well-being,” said Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division. “Postal Inspectors and our law enforcement partners will continue to work every day to protect our elderly neighbors from financial exploitation.”
U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones sentenced Tyler to more than five years in prison. Additionally, he will face three years of supervised release and pay more than $100,000 in restitution.
Johnson will face almost four years in prison and three years of supervised release. He will be forced to pay $66,097 in restitution.
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