A Maryland grand jury indicted Ronald Steven Williams, II, 32, of Ann Arundel County, Maryland, for bank fraud, fraud in connection with identity documents and information, and aggravated identity theft.
According to the seven-count indictment, from June 29, 2001 to July 14, 2006 Williams engaged in a number of fraud schemes where he used the Social Security numbers and identities of others without their knowledge to obtain personal and corporate extensions of credit for cars, homes, consumer goods and general credit accounts.
The indictment alleges that on June 29, 2001 Williams purchased a home in Severn, Maryland using the name ‘Dominick Reavis’ and a Social Security number assigned to a minor child. Acting as Dominick Reavis, Williams submitted false information to the lender, securing a $165,156 mortgage.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the hot spots for Mortgage Fraud activity in 2004 (per capita) were: California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, and Florida.
On June 29, 2004, acting again as Dominick Reavis, Williams sold the home to himself in his own name, using a Social Security number that was unassigned at the time but was subsequently assigned to a newborn. On that same date, Williams submitted false information to another lender, securing a $265,500 mortgage to “purchase” the home from himself.
In, addition, the indictment alleges that Williams assumed the identity of Jeffrey Lee Jacobs from July to December 2005, using his name and Social Security number to create businesses, open bank accounts, rent a mailbox, buy a refrigerator and get a $50,000 line of credit and a $12,900 loan.
The investigation by postal inspectors, IRS criminal investigators and state police started several months ago. Frank J. Schissler, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's Baltimore office told reporters with The Capitol Online that such investigations are commonly handled by postal inspectors and prosecuted in federal court because they involve interstate commerce and the credit applications and checks are generally sent through the mail.
Schissler said the use of Social Security numbers that belong to children - and even numbers that have yet to be assigned - is "a new trend." He said he could not elaborate on how Williams might have obtained the numbers as the case is still under investigation.
The trend is not new to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Last year Shurtleff announced that identity thieves were stealing and forging Social Security numbers belonging to children in that state.
Utah Investigators checked state records and found that approximately 1,800 social security numbers, belonging to children under of 13, may have been compromised.
Researchers with News for Public Officials, The Virginia Watchdog, and FindMyId.com have identified children's Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers displayed on county and state Web sites throughout the country.
When asked for comments, B.J Ostergren, founder of The
Virginia Watchdog concurred with the fact this information is
available and that identity thieves are preying upon the nation’s youth.