‘Like a hefty anchor, he’s taken his total loved ones down’: Operator of credit maintenance business and 7 family sentenced in $3.4 million id fraud case

If you can not have confidence in your household, who can you have faith in?

The operator of a North Carolina credit score maintenance business has been sentenced to extra than 8 years in jail for developing pretend law enforcement reports to thoroughly clean up his clients’ terrible credit and enlisting his loved ones to support operate a $3.4 million credit score card fraud scheme at Lowe’s

Michael Griffin, 53, concerned 7 family members in the credit card rip-off, which include his wife, daughter, two brothers and a few sisters, one of whom was an on-line pastor. The plan concerned the creation of “synthetic identities” that relied on the stolen Social Security figures of children, prosecutors reported.

“Like a hefty, major anchor, he’s taken his total family members down,” U.S. District Courtroom Choose Terrence Boyle reported at Griffin’s sentencing on Wednesday, in accordance to the Raleigh News & Observer

All of Griffin’s kinfolk pleaded responsible in the circumstance in October and have been sentenced to as substantially as 14 months in prison.

A concept left with Griffin’s legal professional was not instantly returned.

Bogus law enforcement experiences

The probe into Griffin started in 2019 when authorities billed him with submitting fake law enforcement stories with credit score score companies stating that his purchasers — some of whom had paid out $3,000 for his credit history mend companies — experienced been the victims of identification theft. The ruse frequently worked and Griffin’s clientele were being unaware of what he experienced accomplished, according to court docket documents.

Prosecutors say Griffin experienced run this rip-off on behalf of virtually 600 clients of his credit mend enterprise. 

Soon after he had been charged, the situation expanded just after investigators identified that Griffin had engaged in one thing known as artificial id theft, in which a stolen Social Protection quantity is paired usually with a fake title, therefore producing a phony identification.

Prosecutors say Griffin at some issue employed these kinds of a fake ID to acquire an vehicle financial loan to buy a 2018 Hyundai Genesis for $73,000. 

The rip-off then expanded into credit card fraud. Griffin was accused of enlisting his family members members to enable utilize for dozens of Lowe’s credit score cards issued by Synchrony
Lender, utilizing artificial identities, prosecutors said.

Messages still left with associates for Synchrony and Lowe’s weren’t promptly returned. 

Investigators say Griffin would then max out the accounts to acquire prepaid funds cards and then walk absent from the credit rating card. Prosecutors say Griffin also scammed other monetary establishments via a equivalent ruse.

Griffin pleaded responsible to fraud in August and was sentenced Wednesday to 100 months in federal prison. He was also purchased to pay out $400,000 in restitution.