Identity Thief Who Used Bitcoin, “Burner Phones”, and Digital Wallets to Steal Over $ 500,000 Sentenced to Jail | USAO-WDWA
Seattle – A prolific identity thief who traveled across the country using fraud to purchase luxury goods and items he could convert into cash and bitcoin, was convicted in district court today American from Seattle to 3 years in prison, announced acting American lawyer Tessa M. Gorman. Between February 2017 and December 2018, Aaron Laws, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia, traveled through Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Arizona, Georgia and the Minnesota to make fraudulent withdrawals from the credit cards of the victims. The laws had a sophisticated scheme, recruiting other people and using digital wallets, bitcoin, and burner phones to try to avoid detection. At the sentencing hearing, US District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said Laws “had a very complicated criminal enterprise and nothing seemed to deter him.”
“Motivated by greed, this defendant attempted to use digital advancements to hide his old-fashioned fraud,” acting US lawyer Tessa M. Gorman said. “At all stages, from accessing the dark web to loading stolen data onto digital wallets, acquiring anonymous prepaid phones, adopting aliases, laundering money through crypto accounts. – anonymous currency, its operation was sophisticated and difficult to detect. But ultimately, the police arrested him in his tracks.
According to the records filed in the case, Laws purchased credit card information from so-called “card websites” on the dark web. The information was loaded onto digital wallets on prepaid phones and was quickly used for fraudulent purchases of electronics, jewelry, and other items that could be sold for cash or bitcoin. In many cases, the laws have sent co-conspirators to stores to make purchases in order to avoid detection. Nonetheless, Laws profited the most from the program – up to $ 500,000.
The laws used the stolen credit card information to buy a Rolex for over $ 34,000. He bought some diamond jewelry, including a diamond encrusted pendant in the shape of a bitcoin symbol. Laws also bought at least $ 166,000 in bitcoin during the period February 2017 to November 2017, buying the bulk of that bitcoin – $ 93,000 – in a single day, August 23, 2017.
Despite an arrest in October 2017, Laws continued his frenzy of fraud. Even after being ordered to serve a weekend jail time in Georgia, he was not deterred and continued to commit fraud across the country.
On January 31, 2020, Laws pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. After his prison sentence, Laws will be on probation for 5 years. He was ordered to pay $ 623,554 in restitution.
The case was investigated by the US Secret Service and the Kirkland Police Department.
The case was continued by Deputy United States Attorney Marie Dalton.