Criminal charges in ID theft scheme targeting DUI offenders

Dennis C. Pfannenschmidt, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that Donald E. Stoner, age 37, of Lancaster County was charged with conspiracy to commit identification fraud in connection with a scheme targeting DUI offenders in Lancaster and York Counties. Also filed was a plea agreement indicating that Stoner has agreed to plead guilty to the charge when he appears for his arraignment in federal court. Stoner faces up to five years’ imprisonment and $250,000 in fines upon conviction of the offense.

The charge indicates that Stoner and another unnamed individual searched the internet and targeted individuals who had been convicted of DUI offenses in Lancaster and York Counties. Stoner and his co-conspirator then requested the court’s files from the clerk’s office and obtained the victim’s social security number, drivers license number and other identifying information that was disclosed on documents in the file. Armed with this information, Stoner and his co-conspirator opened fraudulent bank accounts, created phony email addresses and applied for loans in the victim’s name. The proceeds of the loans were deposited into the fraudulent bank accounts and used by the co-conspirators for personal expenses. More than 100 individuals had their identities stolen and approximately $27,000 was gained as a result of this scheme. The victims have been contacted by law enforcement authorities and advised of the identity theft. The clerk of court for York and Lancaster County have also been advised of the scheme and have been asked to redact identifying information from court documents prior to release to the public.

U.S. Attorney Pfannenschmidt noted that this is the second case recently filed in this district involving identity theft from court records. On August 27, 2009, Joel S. Lowenstein, pled guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with a separate $35 million identity theft scheme involving federal criminal court records and fraudulent tax returns filed in the names of thousands of federal prisoners. Ten other individuals face similar charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, Illinois, in connection with that scheme. Federal records no longer show a defendants’ identifying information when those records are disclosed to the public.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and is assigned to AUSA Bruce Brandler for prosecution.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

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