A highly lucrative illegal business based in Ohio that created fake ID cards has been halted with two arrests.
Mark Alex Simon, 34, and Sarah M. Alberts, 34, were arrested after a multiyear investigation into the fake ID scheme. Agents also seized $4.7 million in Bitcoin, gold, silver, U.S. currency, identification cards, and multiple pieces of hardware.
Simon, 34, of Toledo, was charged on February 8, 2018 in U.S. District Court with making and transferring false identification documents.
Alberts, 34, of Perrysburg, was charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, money laundering, and manufacturing fake identification cards, according to affidavits filed in Toledo Municipal Court.
Fake IDs Sold Through Reddit?
The investigation started in 2015 when authorities in Ohio received fake ID cards from a Springfield bar. Federal court documents revealed that a college student had informed investigators that he and a friend had obtained the fake IDs through the discussion web site Reddit.
In one Reddit post, TedDanzigSR writes an extensive, detailed guide that outlines the differences between the fake IDs he provides and real ID cards.
“[The] relative position of the static layers to the dynamic layers…may even not be lined up very well… Just about all the colors vary a little. Some [are] more noticeable than others.”
The nature of TedDanzigSR’s posts suggests that he invested a lot of labor in—and derived considerable personal pride from—the fake IDs he produced.
Items Found in Simon’s Home
TedDanzigSR was also quite brazen in describing the wealth he’d accrued through different means in order to avoid the notice of the IRS.
An affidavit filed on February 6 by the U.S. Secret Service said agents found a number of incriminating items at Simon’s home.
In addition to $4.7 million in Bitcoin found on a USB drive, there were 18 gold coins, over 200 silver coins, 21 silver and gold bars, and $7,000 in U.S. dollars. There were also computers, cell phones, various ID cards not issued in Simon’s name, and items related to printing.
Simon is charged with three counts related to the production and transfer of Ohio driver’s licenses.
Alberts was scheduled to appear in municipal court on February 9. Simon, who is being held at the Lucas County jail with bail set at $5.0 million, will likely be indicted by a federal grand jury on further charges within 30 days.