Newcastle man sentenced for leading identity theft ring

March 4, 2010

By Tim Pfarr

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Gabriel Jang, 37, of Newcastle, was sentenced in U.S. District Court Feb. 5 to eight and a half years in prison, five years of supervised release and $466,622 in restitution for leading an identity theft ring run from a Newcastle post office box.

The identity theft ring brought in more than $3 million during a seven-year period.Jang was also ordered to forfeit three houses he purchased with the proceeds from the scheme, $116,527 in cash and hundreds of thousands of dollars in electronic devices, according to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office.

“This defendant will have up to 3,100 days in prison to consider the impact of his crime,” said Daniel Wardlaw, special agent and public information officer for IRS Criminal Investigation.

Jang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and structuring currency transactions. He initially faced 21 charges to which he pleaded not guilty on all counts. But he made a plea agreement, changing his plea to guilty on the four charges. In return, his other 17 charges were dropped.

Members of the identity theft ring would frequent workout facilities, break into lockers and steal credit cards, according to charging documents. Jang provided the locker thieves with equipment to quickly manufacture false identification documents, which they then used with the stolen credit cards to purchase high-end electronic equipment. Finally, Jang sold the stolen goods on the Web site eBay.

At Jang’s sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik told Jang he “became a sophisticated crook.”

Billy Morris Britt, 37, of Renton, worked with Jang by stealing credit cards from gyms. In November, he was sentenced to more than five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release, and he was also ordered to pay $466,622 in restitution.

IRS Criminal Investigation, the Secret Service Electric Crimes Task Force and the Seattle Police Department investigated the cases.

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