PA: Identity Theft Ring Leader Sentenced To Long Prison Term
Evens Claude, 38, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced on Friday, August 29, 2014, to 232 months in prison for aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, access device fraud, counterfeit currency fraud, and conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge Jan E. DuBois also ordered Claude to pay $609,210 in restitution. Claude represented himself at sentencing.
Between 2008 and October 3, 2011, Claude organized and ran two identity theft and counterfeit currency rings which looted the credit and bank accounts of 48 individual victims and caused losses of over $609,210 to 26 corporate victims. Claude fraudulently created and looted credit and bank accounts in victims’ names, adding the names of his criminal associates (“runners”) as authorized users on the credit accounts to buy construction materials and appliances which Claude would sell or use to fix up his properties and to withdraw money from victims’ bank accounts. Claude also used his runners to pass high-quality counterfeit currency to buy expensive goods from large stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s with fake $100 bills and to return the goods to another store branch for genuine currency. In 2011, while on supervised release in another counterfeit currency case, Claude partnered with his brother John “Mo” Claude to commit identity theft. Mo Claude was murdered in June 2011 by one of their runners in a payment dispute over the criminal proceeds. Claude used his criminal proceeds to purchase real estate, a Maserati, a BMW, a Ferrari, and to rent a luxury apartment from which he continued to engage in identity theft following his brother’s death. Claude’s long criminal history since 1993 included drug distribution, counterfeit currency fraud, and illegal re-entry after deportation.
SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania