Feds Bust Tijuana-Based Identity Theft Ring
Two Defendants Accused of Hacking into Thousands of Brokerage Accounts and Stealing More Than $100,000
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 28, 2014|
SAN DIEGO—Two men are charged in indictments unsealed this week with hacking into the computer servers of a major U.S. mortgage broker to steal personal information and use it to siphon funds from the brokerage accounts of thousands of victims.
Jason Ray Bailey and Victor Alejandro Fernandez were charged in a two-count indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer hacking. Bailey was arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Adler; Fernandez was arraigned on Wednesday.
According to charging documents, both men are part of a Tijuana-based conspiracy that hacked the computer servers of a U.S mortgage broker and obtained mortgage applications containing customers’ personal identification information such as names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, assets, tax information, and driver’s licenses.
Approximately 4,200 customers had their information stolen between December 2012 and June 2013, and the conspiracy dates back to July 2011, the charging documents say.
Members of the conspiracy used victims’ stolen information to impersonate the mortgage customers, open credit lines in their names, and steal their assets, according to the charging documents. For example, members of the conspiracy identified multiple victims’ brokerage accounts and fraudulently took control of the accounts by first calling the brokerage companies and providing the victims’ personal identification information and then changing the victims’ passwords and contact information. Once the defendants gained control of the accounts, members of the conspiracy allegedly wired funds from the victims’ brokerage accounts to coconspirators’ U.S. bank accounts in the San Diego and Calexico areas. Several of these wires were over $20,000 and $30,000 each.
Bailey’s detention hearing was scheduled for March 4, 2014, at 3 p.m., and Fernandez’s detention hearing was scheduled for March 6, 2014, at 2:45 p.m. Both defendants are scheduled for a motion hearing and trial setting conference before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curial on April 11, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.
- Jason Ray Bailey, 38, Chula Vista, California
- Victor Alejandro Fernandez, 38, Mammoth Lakes, California
Summary of Charges:
Count one: conspiracy to commit wire fraud—Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1349
Maximum penalties: up to 30 years in prison and $1,000,000 fine
Count two: computer hacking—Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 1030 (a) (4) and (c) (3) (A)
Maximum penalties: up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Indictments and complaints are not evidence that the defendant committed the crime charged. All defendants are presumed innocent until the United States meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.