Carol Crane, 47, was sentenced to 124 months in prison in connection with the investigation of an identity theft ring which operated in the Portland metropolitan area from 2004 through early 2007. Crane was the sixth person to plead guilty and be sentenced based on participation in the ring. She was also ordered to pay restitution to banks and individuals totaling nearly $200,000 as detailed below. In December 2006, Crane pled guilty to one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, a $l,000,000 fine, and up to five years of supervised release.
According to the government, in 2004 and 2005, Crane and a group of accomplices defrauded various banks and other financial institutions, including the Portland Teachers Credit Union, now known as OnPoint Community Credit Union, and obtained money by stealing identification and documents from unsuspecting victims and then using the stolen documents to obtain money from the victim banks.
An investigation by federal and state law enforcement agencies revealed that Crane and her accomplices would steal purses, wallets, personal identification, checks, credit cards and other items belonging to individuals and businesses from public and private premises in and around the Portland, Oregon area. Crane and her group would use stolen checks and create forgeries made payable to persons whose identification had been stolen. Crane would then direct others to use stolen identification to pose as the payees and cash the forged checks at various financial institutions. Members of the group would also use stolen credit and debit cards to get cash advances at various financial institutions or to make purchases.
After her plea in 2006, investigators developed evidence that Crane continued to commit identity theft and bank fraud during 2006 and 2007. An additional indictment was returned in April 2007, alleging that Crane and others continued to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in the Portland area and in Washington along the I-5 corridor. It charges bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with specific transactions at US Bank branches in Portland in December 2006, and alleges that Crane and two other individuals traveled to Federal Way and Tumwater, Washington during January and February 2007 as part of a conspiracy to commit bank fraud and identity theft.
During Crane’s plea hearing in 2006, Crane acknowledged that her involvement in identity theft resulted in theft of identification from more than 50 individuals and caused losses to various financial institutions totaling $151,542. As part of the agreement that led to her sentencing, Crane acknowledged responsibility for additional victims and losses totaling over $54,000.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office