John Welbes, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. –
A jury on Thursday found four Minnesota men guilty of charges related to their roles in a multistate, $2 million identity theft ring.
Joel Delano Powell, 46, of St. Louis Park; Desmon Desmond Burks, 37, of Cottage Grove; Frederick Adrianne Hamilton, 55, and Norman Scott Allen, 43, both of Minneapolis, were each convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Minnesota. The defendants also were convicted on various other charges, which included aggravated identity theft.
The ring ran from 2006 until the end of 2011, and involved more than 100 people. Members stole ID information and used it to create fake IDs and counterfeit checks.
The fraudulent documents were often used to make purchases at retail stores. Later, and often on the same day, the items were returned for cash that was divided among members of the ring.
The defendants face a maximum prison sentence of 30 years on the bank fraud conspiracy charges and a minimum of two years in prison for identity theft. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson will determine the sentences.
There are 24 other co-conspirators tied to the case who have already entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing.