Updated:CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga.,None —
Deputies arrested two metro Atlanta men who they said ran an identity theft ring that defrauded victims across the United States of at least $9 million.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Intelligence Unit arrested Robert A. Smith, 46, inside his Atlanta high-rise condo building on Wednesday. They also arrested Robert A. Hill, 49, at his Roswell home.
Deputies said the men obtained fake driver’s licenses and then applied for store credit cards. The men purchased high-dollar items from Best Buy, Target, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe's stores, and sold the merchandise on eBay, according to police. Investigators said Hill has been leading the operation for at least 15 years and the number of victims is likely over 8,000.
"Just anything big ticket that they could get that would turn a big profit," Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison told Channel 2's Ross Cavitt. The men liked to purchase Apple products like iPads and iPods that could be sold on the Internet auction at full value, according to deputies.
Investigators, along with the Secret Service, raided five separate locations in Fulton County and seized high-end real estate, a 1999 Lexus, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and $91,000. They also expect to make more arrests.
Deputies say a Cherokee County resident helped unravel the operation when they reported several unauthorized credit cards had been opened in their name.
Hill is charged with conspiracy to commit retail property fencing and violations of Georgia’s RICO act. He’s been released on $110,400 bond.
Smith is charged with five counts of identity fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit identity fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit retail property fencing and violating the Georgia Rico Act. He’s being held without bond.
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