Sunday, November 9, 2008

ID Theft Ring Indictments Handed Down - - 05 Nov 08

AURORA, Colo. -- Aurora police said they busted an ID theft ring that had been operating in the city and in the north Denver metro area.

Five people were indicted last week by a Denver grand jury, which issued a 65-count indictment. Four of the five, including the alleged ringleader, Shadwick Weaver, 35, were in custody by Wednesday. The others indicted were James Bierce, 41; Carrie Robinson, 25; Kelly Head, 35; and Levi Fairbanks, 25.

An investigation, which began in April, uncovered what officials called a "web of criminal activity spun by five suspects." During the investigation, detectives said they discovered that the group possessed nearly 300 fraudulent items, including fake IDs, employee IDs, counterfeit checks and credit cards.

As a result of the investigation, detectives from Aurora's Economic Crimes Unit identified dozens of victims who lost thousands of dollars.

According to the indictments, Weaver used the other defendants to cash fraudulent checks and pass what the group referred to as "temporary credit cards" to unsuspecting store clerks at various businesses. The targeted businesses included grocery stores, hotels and liquor stores, according to police.

In cases involving the so-called temporary credit cards, the defendants are alleged to have made the cards, which were similar to credit cards, but did not have the magnetic strips commonly found on the back of credit cards. The card numbers were stolen from valid and active credit cards, police said.

When store clerks asked about the missing magnetic strip, the thieves would allegedly respond by saying that the credit card was only a "temporary card," which was issued without a magnetic strip. The suspects would then ask the unsuspecting clerk to manually enter the credit card number into a credit card machine, according to the indictment.

Investigators said those indicted have ties to methamphetamine. They believe a portion of the profits generated by the group's alleged activity was used to purchase the drug.

Police have asked for help in locating the fifth suspect, Levi Fairbanks, who is believed to be in the Denver area.

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