A California man has been put behind bars for his role in an identity theft scheme that victimized thousands of US veterans and service members.
Trorice Crawford pleaded guilty on December 5 last year to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. The 32-year-old San Diego resident admitted conspiring with US citizen Robert Wayne Boling Jr. and others to steal millions of dollars between May 2017 and July 2019.
Crawford hired at least 30 people to act as money mules, paying them to receive funds stolen from current and former military personnel into their bank accounts.
Unauthorized transfers from victims’ accounts ranged from $8,000 to $13,000 on average, with Crawford keeping a cut from each transaction. Crawford also oversaw the transmission of stolen funds to Boling and others in the Philippines via international money remittance services.
A federal judge in San Antonio yesterday sentenced Crawford to 46 months in federal prison. Chief US District Judge Orlando Garcia ordered Crawford to pay $103,700 in restitution and be placed on a three-year period of supervised release after completing his prison term.
Crawford’s co-defendant, Frederick Brown, pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the identity theft scheme in October 2019 and will be sentenced on September 17. The 38-year-old used his former position as a civilian medical records administrator for the US Army to steal the personal identifying information (PII) of thousands of military members.
Brown admitted using his cell phone to capture members’ names, Social Security numbers, DOD ID numbers, dates of birth, and contact information while being logged into the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application.
The Las Vegas resident further confessed to handing over the stolen PII to Boling and his Philippines-based co-defendants, Australian Allan Albert Kerr and South Korean Jongmin Seok, so that they could use it to access Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs benefits sites and steal millions of dollars.
As asserted in the federal grand jury indictment, Boling, Kerr, and Seok used the stolen data to compromise a Department of Defense portal designed to enable military members to access benefits information online.
The trio are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Measures are being taken to extradite them from the Philippines to Texas.