In Kane County a man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after he was found guilty of identity theft and bank fraud. United States District Judge Sue E. Myerscough sentenced the 25-year-old following his involvement in defrauding some Springfield merchants over $600,000.
Keith JD Offord of Carpentersville was found guilty of the charges against him by a jury in February. According to evidence presented against him, Offord used the dark web to purchase identities which he would then use to create identification documents. Using the identification documents, Offord would then open credit accounts and use them to buy goods and gift cards.
According to the prosecution, Offord was the mastermind of a ring of fraudsters in the period between December 2013 and August 2015. Being the mastermind Offord would visit the dark web where he made purchases of credentials such as dates of birth, social security numbers, residential addresses, email addresses, passwords, and maiden names. After making the purchases, he would create false identities, add images of his partners whom he then ordered to acquire credit accounts and cards which he then would use to buy goods from unsuspecting retailers.
The defrauding scheme proved to be a profitable one as the ring went ahead and made 260 transactions using the false identities. Most of the transactions were concentrated in Springfield, Illinois, but later expanded to St. Louis, Missouri, in July and August 2015. The illegal activity did not go unnoticed and resulted in the initiation of an investigation by the Illinois State Police.
The investigation resulted in the arrest of Offord in August 2015. On being arrested Offord was found to have over 15 credit cards bearing names of different individuals. He was then charged with possession of counterfeit credit cards, and identity theft.
He was then temporarily released on a bond order to await his sentence hearing. However, Offord did not stay a free man for long as his bond was annulled by United States Magistrate Judge Tom Shanzle-Haskins in January 2018. He was found guilty of attempted bank fraud. The prosecution led by Attorneys Gregory Gilmore and Matthew Weir in the petition to have Offord’s bond revoked presented evidence showing how he attempted to defraud a bank back in November 2017.
According to the evidence presented Offord tried to get a loan to purchase a Jaguar using a false identity. The prosecution made it known that Offord used the social security number of an 11-year-old boy from Idaho. He also presented faked employment and salary details, driver’s license, and documents to confirm the address of this person’s residence. On seeing the evidence presented before him, Judge Shanzle-Haskin revoked Offord’s bond and placed him under the custody of U.S. Marshals Service. It is unclear if Offord knew that the credentials he used belonged to a child.
The revocation of Offord’s bond was followed by his indictment in February before a jury. The jury was made aware of how Offord obtained the identities of 70 individuals from a dark web marketplace. The prosecution also said that Offord preferred to use credentials of chiropractors. The prosecution disclosed that in one of his shopping sprees in 2015, Offord made purchases totaling over $10,000 with various retailers. The jury found him guilty of all the charges filed against him by the prosecution.
Following the guilty verdict passed by the jury against Offord, Judge Myerscough sentenced him to 12 years in prison and ordered him to pay restitution of $600,549.