In June of 2010, a Bay Village resident reported her checking account number had been compromised and utilized on a number of fabricated checks. Those fabricated checks were cashed at local banks by various individuals for a total of $43,000.
Bay Village Police Department began an extensive investigation which exposed a much larger fraud enterprise. Bay Village Police worked cooperatively with many bank fraud investigators, the U. S. Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies and identified losses totaling $526,237.00 at four separate banking institutions.
In addition, investigators identified fraudulent lines of credit were established at a variety of retail stores with losses totaling over $500,000.
As a result of this extensive investigation, twelve individuals were arrested and indicted by the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury for the Identity Theft ring.
The twelve individuals made unauthorized withdrawals and “split deposits” on legitimate victim’s accounts at multiple bank branch locations in northeast Ohio. High quality forged Ohio driver’s licenses, along with stolen bank account information, were utilized to make the unauthorized withdrawals of large sums of cash.
Further investigation revealed that the forged Ohio driver’s licenses and stolen bank account information was also used to open unauthorized lines of credit at a number of stores throughout the state of Ohio. Thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise was purchased with the unauthorized lines of credit and ultimately sold for a fraction of their value on the streets of Cleveland.
Investigation showed that Brian Lumbus Jr. of Maple Heights was the person who operated the identity theft ring and recruited others to make the bank withdrawals and open the unauthorized lines of credit. Lumbus recruited individuals and provided them with the forged Ohio driver’s licenses and the stolen account holder information which was used to facilitate the crimes.
After a number of search warrants were executed at residences and storage facilities, the computer equipment used to make the fake Ohio driver’s licenses was recovered and confiscated, along with bank account information in the names of hundreds of victims and merchandise purchased with the information of those victims.
On 10/30/2014, a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Jury convicted Brian Lumbus Jr. of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, Conspiracy, Aggravated Theft, Grand Theft, Identity Fraud and Possession of Criminal Tools. Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Jackson sentenced Lumbus Jr. on 11/3/2014 to a term of ten years’ incarceration at an Ohio penitentiary.
The eleven other individuals have already served their sentences or are still serving their sentences at Ohio penitentiaries. Two other subjects who assisted in the identity theft operation and resided in Cincinnati were arrested and convicted in Cincinnati.