Identity thief who used bitcoin, ‘burner phones,’ and digital wallets to steal more than $500,000 sentenced to prison | USAO-WDWA

Seattle – A prolific identification thief who traveled the nation utilizing fraud to purchase luxurious items and objects he may convert to money and bitcoin, was sentenced at the moment in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 3 years in prison, introduced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Between February 2017 and December 2018, Aaron Laws, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, traveled by means of Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Arizona, Georgia, and Minnesota making fraudulent prices on sufferer bank cards.  Laws had a complicated scheme, recruiting others, and utilizing digital wallets, bitcoin and burner telephones to strive to keep away from detection.  At the sentencing listening to U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik mentioned Laws “had a really difficult felony enterprise and nothing appeared to deter him.”

“Motivated by greed, this defendant tried to use digital advances to disguise his old school fraud,” mentioned Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.  “At all phases—from accessing the darkish net, to loading stolen knowledge onto digital wallets, to buying pay as you go nameless telephones, to adopting aliases, to laundering cash by means of nameless cryptocurrency accounts—his operation was subtle and troublesome to detect.  But in the end legislation enforcement stopped him in his tracks.”

According to information filed within the case, Laws bought bank card data from so-called ‘carding web sites’ on the darkish net.  The data was loaded onto digital wallets on pay as you go telephones and was rapidly used for fraudulent purchases of electronics, jewellery and different objects that may very well be bought for money or bitcoin.  In many cases, Laws despatched coconspirators into the shops to make the purchases so as to keep away from detection.  Nevertheless, Laws profited probably the most from the scheme – as a lot as $500,000.

Laws used the stolen bank card data to buy a Rolex for more than $34,000.  He bought diamond jewellery together with a diamond encrusted pendant within the form of a bitcoin image.  Laws additionally bought at the least $166,000 in bitcoin through the time interval from February 2017 till November 2017, shopping for the majority of this bitcoin—$93,000—in a single day, on August 23, 2017.

Despite an arrest in October 2017, Laws continued his fraud spree.  Even after being sentenced to serve jail time on the weekends in Georgia, he was undeterred and continued to commit fraud throughout the nation.

On January 31, 2020, Laws pleaded responsible to Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft.  Following his prison time period, Laws shall be on supervised launch for five years.  He was ordered to pay $623,554 in restitution.

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Kirkland Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marie Dalton.


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