Crime

Group of 10 makes more than $1.5 million from ID theft ring. They’re going to prison.

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Ten people from Florida and other states have been convicted and sentenced for their roles in a money laundering ring that included identity theft and credit card fraud, netting more than $1.5 million in profits.

Among the expenses charged on fraudulently obtained credit cards, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said: a Rolex watch valued at $14,065; spa services and other items at Acqualina Resort and Spa in Sunny Isles Beach that cost $1,299; and eye surgery totaling about $5,000.

In April 2018, the 10 involved were indicted on federal charges including conspiracy to commit access device fraud, producing, using, and trafficking in counterfeit access devices and aggravated identity theft.

According to the feds, the group “used the personal identifying information of other individuals to open credit card accounts without the victims’ knowledge or consent.”

They then used the cards to purchase various items and services. One of the defendants “used fraud proceeds and laundered funds to purchase property in Davie that was valued at more than $600,000,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The 10 people charged are: Noe Reina De La Cruz, 28, of Doral; Raul Gil-Rodriguez, 36, formerly of Paramus, New Jersey; Ney Antonio Lopez De La Cruz, 25, of Doral; Domingo Reyes, 41, formerly of Doral and New York; Yousef Michi, 35, of New York; Esteban Ochoa, 35, of New York; Vantroy Sanchez, 40, of New York; Jeffrey Batista, 28, of New York; Carlos David Franco, 32, of Miami; and Pedro De La Cruz, 49, of New York.

On Thursday, the last two of the group were sentenced for their role in the crime. Gil-Rodriguez, who was considered one of two leaders of the ring, was given just over eight years in jail. Reyes was sentenced to four years in jail. The remaining eight received punishments ranging from probation to eight years in jail.

The defendants were also ordered “to pay restitution, special assessments, and forfeiture money judgments that totaled more than $1.5 million,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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