EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A U.S. District judge sentenced a man from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to 25 months imprisonment after he admitted to participating in an identity theft and fraudulent check scheme.
Jamaine D. Brooks, 46, pled guilty to possession of five or more identification documents, possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity theft in a U.S. District courtroom in July. Following imprisonment, he will serve three years of supervised release.
“Financial exploitation and identity theft crimes are serious offenses with lasting effects on victims,” U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe said. “Thankfully, our law enforcement partners worked swiftly to apprehend this offender, and I commend this collaborative effort to pursue justice.”
According to court documents, Brooks stole identities to commit financial fraud and buy merchandise using his victims’ means from various Walmart locations and other retail stores.
He was arrested by police after he traveled to southern Illinois with 23 Indiana identification cards and driver’s licenses, 39 stolen credit and debit cards, nine Social Security cards, four checkbooks in one individual’s name and equipment to alter checks in March 2021.
“The U.S. Secret Service and our law enforcement partners remain committed to identifying, investigating, and pursuing those who attempt to enrich themselves through fraudulent means,” Stephen Webster, Springfield, Ill., Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, said. “We are proud of our partnerships with the federal, state, and local agencies who work collectively to hold these individuals accountable for their actions.”
At the time of his arrest, Brooks had already used his victim’s identity and financial means to purchase more than $5,000 in retail goods, most recently at a Walmart in Collinsville, Illinois. In addition to the federal prison sentence, Brooks was ordered to pay $5,154.75 in restitution back to this specific victim.
The identification cards, credit and debit cards, and social security cards belonged to at least 40 separate victims.
“We are very proud of the great work done by our officers that led to this arrest,” said Chief Steve Evans of the Collinsville Police Department. “More importantly, these kind of results are only possible due to the strong relationship and collaboration between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement.”
Chelci Johnson, 33, also of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was a named co-defendant also charged in the indictment. An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
The Collinsville Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service contributed to the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter T. Reed prosecuted the case.