Two men are facing numerous felony charges after they allegedly racked up over $1 million in purchases during an extensive identity theft operation, Lake Forest police said.
Lake Forest Deputy Police Chief Rob Copeland said that an investigation was launched in June 2018 after a Lake Forest resident reported being the victim of identity theft.
Detectives identified two main suspects, 32-year-old Jamelle J. Mcbride and 22-year-old Brenden Butler, who both live in Homer Glen, Illinois.
“The investigation involved the suspects committing numerous counts of illegal and unauthorized use of multiple victims’ financial and identification information to make online purchases of high-value items,” Copeland said.
The items included lawn mowers, tractors, appliances and leather goods. The fraudulently purchased items were used for the suspects’ personal use or sold using online forums such as Let Go and Offer Up,
The estimated loss to the victims is in excess of $1 million dollars within the past 24 months, Copeland said.
The Lake Forest Police Department, Will County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Illinois Department of Revenue and the Chicago Police Department executed a search warrant in the early morning hours on June 11 at a residence in the 16000 block of Josef Drive in Homer Glen.
Police located and seized numerous devices used to manufacture fraudulent identification cards and fraudulent credit cards, Copeland said.
The devices included a card embossing machine, a device used to encode and re-encode the magnetic stripe of credit cards, printers used to manufacture fraudulent identifications, and fraudulent credit cards.
Numerous fraudulent documents like driver’s licenses, fraudulent credit cards and re-encoded credit cards were located inside of the residence.
Two loaded guns, fraudulently purchased appliances, multiple vehicles, computers, cell phones, leather goods, a large amount of cash and other miscellaneous suspect stolen property were also seized.
Mcbride faces charges of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, aggravated identity theft and continuing financial criminal enterprise. Butler faces charges of continuing financial criminal enterprise, identity theft and possessing a stolen or fraudulent credit card.
Mcbride also faces pending charges for identity theft, forgery money laundering, tax evasion and identity manufacturing.
“The investigation is on-going, and it is expected that both McBride and Butler will be charged with additional crimes in Lake and Will Counties. In addition, it is also expected that charges against additional co-conspirators in this operation will also be forthcoming.”