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Federal investigators believe 120 people involved in fraud ring

The U.S. Attorney’s office has recently been busy processing numerous white-collar criminal charges against what they claim is a large identity theft ring. While no one from the office will comment on the charges or the supposed 120 people involved in the identity fraud, only eight people have been formally charged.

Several of the people facing criminal charges for identity theft, money laundering and bank fraud have pled guilty, according to the Star Tribune. Although this could indicate that they are admitting their guilt, other sources indicate that many of the suspects who have pled guilty have also agreed to help federal investigators, indicating they may receive a reduced sentence for their assistance.

The first of the suspects to have pled guilty was a 31-year-old woman from St. Paul. She pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in September after prosecutors said she used falsified identification and counterfeit checks to purchase items and then return them for cash.

Federal investigators have been looking into the supposed criminal ring and believe that there could be 120 people involved. They have also said the alleged money laundering and other activities may now be in at least 12 states.

A few of the people who have been charged in this supposed criminal enterprise have chosen to plead guilty in exchange for helping federal investigators. While this is certainly a difficult decision to make, it should only be done after considerable consultation with a criminal defense attorney. Blindly entering a plea deal because you believe you will get a reduced sentence can be extremely dangerous without an attorney by your side, explaining your options and protecting your Constitutional rights.

Source: Star Tribune, “Big Twin Cities ID theft ring unmasked,” Dan Browning, Jan .9, 2012

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