Urbana man gets probation over identity theft scam

URBANA — The last of four people involved in a scam that involved former Busey Bank tellers relaying personal customer identification to two other men who used it to steal money has been sentenced to probation.

Deangelo Ashford, 21, whose last known address was in the 1800 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue, Urbana, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud.

Assistant State's Attorney Joel Fletcher said the charge stemmed from activity that happened between June and September 2011 involving two female tellers at Busey Bank who gave customer-identifying information such as Social Security numbers to Ashford and Troy Perry, 22, who was Ashford's roommate at the time. Perry then used the information to siphon money electronically from three different customer accounts ultimately into his own account.

Ashford and the tellers — Heather Alexander, 22, and Jalena Arnold, 20 — were then paid by Perry.

Ashford was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay, along with the other three, a total of $21,441 in restitution.

The other three pleaded guilty earlier to identity theft for probation. Perry was also ordered to serve six months in jail.

Fletcher said Ashford introduced the women to Perry.

The case was investigated by Urbana police detective Duane Maxey.

Fletcher said Ashford had no prior convictions. The charge to which he pleaded guilty is a Class 2 felony.

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Shadow wrote on January 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm
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Probation. This is why our country is the way it is.

How long, I wonder, will it be before these four kids are back at it again.

Why can't the justice system dish out stiffer penalties, say 20 years without paroll to deter people from choosing to become criminals ?

If I wanted a candy bar (or whatever) and knew that I wouldn't get punished for just taking it, I would go ahead and take that candy bar.
If however, I knew that getting caught would mean something terrible would happen to me such as... 20 years in the pen with rapers and murders, then I wouldn't even consider the deed.

MAKE THE PENALTY STIFF and STICK BY YOUR WORD !

That's the way we used to raise our children, back in the day.
If you lied, you got a bar of soap shoved into your mouth.
If you did anything else (against the rules) you got a leather belt across your back side.

We learned from these ways. ( I hold no grudges against my parents for their form of discipline... even when mom sent me out to the willow tree to cut the very switch that she was going to whip me with ).

Set the penalty a bit on the high side and enforce it.
After a short time, and a few idiots going to the pen to live out their terms, society will change for the better... or suffer.

IMHO


 

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

If I wanted a candy bar (or whatever) and knew that I wouldn't get punished for just taking it, I would go ahead and take that candy bar.
If however, I knew that getting caught would mean something terrible would happen to me such as... 20 years in the pen with rapers and murders, then I wouldn't even consider the deed.

If the only thing stopping you from theft (or worse) is fear of punishment, then that's a problem.

Further, I'm not entirely convinced that deterrence works at all. Criminals already never think they're actually going to get caught. It's not that they rationally weigh the consequences and make choices based on the results. If they did that, they wouldn't generally be in a position to be criminals in the first place.

Skepticity wrote on January 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm

So the people who were ripped off get to wait for repayment of their stolen money?  These  perpetrators will go about their lives with little thought of the victims.  They will take years to repay, if they do repay at all. 

What protects new potential victims from these offenders?  What message does this send to others tempted to commit the same crimes?  If they were serving 4 years, they would not be able to rip others off for 4 years. 

Personally, I consider identity theft to be as bad as aggravated assault, and think it should have similar consequences.  Unfortunately, if they had committed aggravated assault they probably would also get parole instead of 4 years.  I frequently see reports of criminals who battered and robbed victims on the street using handguns getting off with light sentences. 

There is no mention of the victims' ages or financial circumstances.  Often senior citizens have savings that represent years of their lives.  Years that are taken in scams and identity thefts.  The consequences to them are devastating.  The identity theives are stealing the lives of their victims.  Some of the victims have few years left. 

The current plea bargain justice that is prevalent today reduces or dismisses charges and makes justice a joke.  It is a sad day when the courts are just a bureaucratic process that will only assign significant penalties after repeated offenses and unsuccessful terminations of probations.  The court system does little to protect the public.   

SaintClarence27 wrote on January 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm

What protects new potential victims from these offenders?  What message does this send to others tempted to commit the same crimes?  If they were serving 4 years, they would not be able to rip others off for 4 years

The reality is that they'll never be able to get a job with access to others' money and information again. That's a pretty big deterrent, as well as protecting other people.
 

45solte wrote on January 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm

'The reality is that they'll never be able to get a job with access to others' money and information again. That's a pretty big deterrent, as well as protecting other people.'


Not so much. In reality: http://www.paxtonrecord.net/news/courts-police-and-fire/2012-09-28/former-law-firm-employee-sentenced-federal-prison.html-0


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SaintClarence27 wrote on January 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Wow. How a law firm does not do a simple background check on all employees is beyond me.

Shadow wrote on January 31, 2013 at 4:01 am
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That's a pretty big deterrent, as well as protecting other people.

To you this makes sense. But not the the criminals.

asparagus wrote on January 30, 2013 at 5:01 pm

The threat of punishment has been shown to make a partial difference, but you're right that there are other major factors that influence people to decide to commit crime. In this case the sentence does seem light compared to a lot of the drug related sentences I have seen in the past. Which is worse, being caught with a bag of pot or stealing thousands of dollars from unsuspecting bank customers?

Danno wrote on January 31, 2013 at 7:01 am

"...it's only a few dollars..."

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 01, 2013 at 10:02 pm

It makes you wonder about banking with Busey.  The thought of bank employees siphoning off customers money into another account reflects on the bank.  Since the criminals were employees of the bank, did Busey reimburse the customers?

SaintClarence27 wrote on February 02, 2013 at 2:02 pm

If I have to guess, it would be the FDIC that reimbursed the customers, and that would be who the payments by the criminals would go to.

 

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 02, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Thanks for the answer.  I was wondering if the customers would have to wait for reimbursement via the thieves, or not.  When you put your money into a bank, you assume that it is safe.  The Bank of Urbana at Sunnycrest had a similar problem years ago with theft by employees.

Skepticity wrote on February 03, 2013 at 1:02 pm

My understanding from reading the FDIC site is that the FDIC insures against bank failure, and not theft, fraud, etc.  There is another kind of coverage, but the time frame for repayment is not clear.   

http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/information/fdiciorn.html

Taken from the above site:

"Robberies and Other Thefts
Stolen funds may be covered by what's called a banker's blanket bond, which is a multi-purpose insurance policy a bank purchases to protect itself from fire, flood, earthquake, robbery, defalcation, embezzlement and other causes of disappearing funds. In any event, an occurrence such as a fire or bank robbery may result in a loss to the bank but should not result in a loss to the bank's customers.

If a third party somehow gains access to your account and transacts business that you would not approve of, you must contact the bank and your local law enforcement authorities, who have jurisdiction over this type of wrongdoing.  "

Another interesting bit of information on the FDIC sites is that identity theft is itself a Federal crime.  I believe that the perps in the article were convicted under Illinois law for conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud.  It is possible they could still be charged under the federal statute for identity theft (but unlikely).