One of two men accused of heading up a major identity-theft ring that involved more than 25,000 checks and hundreds of victims was sentenced to over five years in federal prison.
J.C. Flores appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to face sentencing on charges of racketeering and aggravated identity theft.
Agents with the FBI, U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Secret Service and local law enforcement said the check-fraud ring was driven by its members' need to feed their addiction to methamphetamine. The counterfeit check-cashing operation resulted in more than $375,000 in losses, agents said.
The group would create fake checks and matching identification and then use a network of runners to cash those checks at various local banks and credit unions. The proceeds of the cash would then be split with the runner. Both the checks and identification were created using personal information taken from mail stolen out of mailboxes and taken out of dumpsters.
Agents said some members had ties to local white supremacists.
Tuesday's sentencing hearing was ordered sealed from the public by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson, noting that some information discussed during the hearing would be sensitive in nature.
Court docket information indicates Flores was sentenced to 65 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $29,139 in restitution.A second man, Todd Eversen, also believed to be a ring leader, was sentenced last April to 66 months in prison, plus $44,807 in restitution.