Michael Edwin Goins, 62, of Columbus was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to steal identities by using altered military identification cards at many “big-box” chain stores throughout Southern Ohio.
Goins, Harold Ross, 60, and Darrick Corley Hackney, 41, both also of Columbus, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of conspiracy to commit identity fraud, aggravated identity theft and access device fraud, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Ross was sentenced on August 29 to serve 71 months in prison and pay $152,179.18 in restitution. On June 17, Judge Graham sentenced Hackney to serve 27 months in prison and pay $24,250.07 in restitution.
In January 2015, Reynoldsburg police investigating a series of six identity theft cases that appeared to be related. Each of the cases involved victims that had their personal identifying information used to open multiple credit card accounts at national retailers in Central Ohio. Most of the lines of credit used an altered United States Military Dependent ID card that had been stolen from a woman whose husband was serving out of the country.
To execute the scheme, Ross and Goins Photographed other co-conspirators and gave them a fraudulent United States Military Dependent ID with the co-conspirator’s picture. The card would include some information of the true holder of the military ID, as well as the name and date of birth of the victim they were impersonating. Ross and Goins would often provide the co-conspirators with a list of items to purchase in the store once the line of credit was obtained. After the items were purchased, they would sell them on the street for half of the retail cost.
Upon executing search warrants, investigators found multiple documents containing personal identifying information of a number of victims, equipment used to produce ID cards and several appliances such as a washer, drying, refrigerator, TVs, speakers and tablets that were typical of the fraudulent purchases.
The total loss between November 2015 and March 2016 is known to be more than $150,000, but the scheme included many more retailers who were unable to provide records.