A federal jury on Thursday found a St. Louis Park man guilty for his role in a large, multi-state identity theft ring that operated from 2006 through 2011.
Joel Delano Powell, Jr, 46, was convicted of seven counts of bank fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Three other men were also convicted in the case.
According to a press release, the men conspired with each other and unnamed individuals to defraud banks, bank customers and businesses. Through their jobs, members of the theft ring stole the identification information of customers and others, providing it to co-conspirators who then used it to create false ID documents, such as driver’s licenses and ID cards, along with counterfeit checks.
Identification information was stolen in other ways, including mail theft, vehicle break-ins and business burglaries. Some was even purchased from other criminals.
Powell and the others would often use the counterfeit checks they created to buy expensive items, which they quickly returned for cash.
“Over the past several years, this office has demonstrated that it will vigorously pursue those who commit financial fraud and identity theft. Again, through the successful prosecution of this case, we put would-be fraudsters on notice that such action will not be tolerated in Minnesota," said U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones in the release. "Their victims—the hardworking, law-abiding citizens of this state—deserve no less.”
The four men face maximum potential penalties of 30 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Their sentences will be determined at later hearings.