Identity theft is a growing concern across the country. People are stealing driver’s licenses, checks, credit cards and account numbers for their own financial gain. There was an identity scheme in Michigan several years ago, and that same scheme is becoming popular again, causing many people to become imprisoned.
The so-called “Felony Lane Scheme” has been starting up again in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas. The scammers come from Florida and make their way throughout states in the eastern half of the United States, including Michigan.
The scam is called the Felony Lane Scheme because scammers steal personal information from their victims, including driver’s licenses, and purchase wigs and other accessories to impersonate their victims. They then use banks that have a drive-through service and use the farthest lane to conduct their transactions so that bank tellers cannot get a good look at them.
Many people were arrested and charged with identity theft after doing this scheme several years. Those convicted in two separate cases received stiff penalties. This deterred would-be criminals for a while, but now the crimes are resurfacing again.
A new group had been cashing checks at various locations until they were caught outside a bank in Grand Rapids. In January, three women at a YMCA in Milford were the most recent victims of this scheme. It was discovered that a Nissan Armada was involved in one of the thefts. FBI investigators found it at a hotel in Detroit and followed it to Grand Rapids, where the suspect went to a beauty supply store in search of wigs. The suspect then got into a Dodge Caravan. The vehicle went through a Chase Bank drive-through, with the Nissan parked nearby. The occupants of both vehicles—five men and three women—were arrested.
These groups—which consist of both men and women—follow a set pattern. The men break into cars in areas where women tend to converge, such as daycare facilities and health clubs. They look for purses so they can take driver’s licenses, checkbooks and driver’s licenses. The women write checks from one female victim to another. They use the stolen driver’s licenses, along with wigs and other disguises, to impersonate the victim in drive-through lanes at banks.
The woman drives, while a man sits in the back instructing the woman as to what she should do. Others are in another vehicle looking for police. The suspects continue this scheme numerous time, allowing them to withdraw thousands of dollars from their victims’ bank accounts.
Identity theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the crime. Those convicted of the “Felony Lane Scheme” and other theft rings will likely face felony charges and other stiff penalties.
If you are facing charges for identity theft, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side. The lawyers at Nickola Law will work hard to defend you. Schedule your consultation by contacting us at (810) 767-5420 or visiting our website.
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