NEW JERSEY MAN PLEADS TO $600,000 LOSS IN ID THEFT and WIRE FRAUD SCHEME
BOSTON, Mass. – A New Jersey man pleaded guilty today in federal court with stealing $250,000 from two Massachusetts victims’ joint investment account by using a series of assumed identities, and admitted to stealing around $320,000 more in similar identity frauds.
BRYAN WELLS, 27, of New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. WELLS had been arrested and charged in a criminal complaint affidavit alleging wire fraud on July 28, 2010, and was indicted on August 12, 2010. WELLS remains in federal custody.
At today’s plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that on or about April 14, 2010, WELLS targeted two Massachusetts victims’ joint investment account at the Charles Schwab investment firm. WELLS sent Charles Schwab several fraudulent faxes that resulted in the company’s wiring $250,000 from the investment account to bank accounts that WELLS had set up using other fraudulently-obtained identities, all without the permission of the account-holders or the other people whose identities he had fraudulently assumed. WELLS withdrew some of the stolen funds from various banks. WELLS was able to pose as these victims because he had used their dates of birth and Social Security numbers to obtain drivers’ licenses in their names. In the plea agreement, WELLS also accepted responsibility for about $320,000 in additional identity fraud.
Judge Woodlock scheduled sentencing for July 27, 2011. WELLS faces up to 22 years of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss, whichever is highest.
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