In a case that became a cautionary tale for court websites and the need to redact personally identifiable information that could be used for ID theft, three Columbus residents have pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal credit accounts belonging to people whose identities they stole from a government website in 2006.
Katura Mozelle, 23, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost to one count of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Kinte Green, 30, pleaded guilty before Judge Frost on September 20, 2010 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. His sister, Fatima Green, 33, pleaded guilty before Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King on June 25, 2010 to one count of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
A statement of facts read during the plea hearing said that Ms. Mozelle and Mr. Green executed a scheme to defraud federally insured financial institutions by obtaining and using personal identifiers of individuals to take over existing accounts or to open new credit accounts.
Ms. Mozelle and Mr. Green accessed the Franklin County Municipal Court website between July 2006 and August 2007. They would enter random Social Security numbers until locating an individual who had been through the Franklin County Court system. Once they located an individual on the website, they would obtain a name, address, date of birth and driver’s license number. They used this information to get a credit report of the individual. They then would contact the financial institutions on the credit report and file for a change of address or report a card lost or stolen. New cards were sent to Fatima Green’s residence. Using the fraudulently obtained cards, Mozelle and Kinte Green would buy merchandise from various stores and online shopping sites. Merchandise was often shipped to Fatima Green’s residence.
“Investigators found that they were able to access the information for as many as 70 individuals and took over up to 14 accounts,” Stewart said. “Law enforcement began investigating after a victim reported unusual activity on one of their accounts to Worthington Police.”
Bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment. Conspiracy to commit bank fraud is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, and aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory two-year prison term consecutive to any other time served. Judge Frost will set a date for sentencing.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio