CONCORD, NH — Deandray Buckley, 27, of Belleville, MI, was sentenced on Monday to 39 months in federal prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Buckley was part of an interstate scheme with others to steal people’s personal identifying information, including social security numbers and bank account information. Buckley obtained this identification information from his accomplices and online and then used it to obtain fake driver’s licenses with other people’s identifying information and his or an accomplice’s photograph. Buckley and an accomplice used fake driver’s licenses to impersonate bank customers and withdraw or attempt to withdraw money from those bank customers’ accounts. When entering a bank branch, Buckley or an accomplice wore slings on their arms or bandaged their fingers together in case bank tellers asked why the signature on the withdrawal slip did not match the account owners’ signature on file at the bank.
Between October 2017 and February 2018, Buckley or an accomplice entered more than 17 bank branches in New Hampshire, Kansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Rhode Island and stole or attempted to steal over $90,000 from other people’s bank accounts. On February 27, 2018, Buckley was arrested by the Salem Police Department after attempting to withdraw $6,000 from another person’s bank account at a Citizen’s Bank branch in Salem. Branch employees recognized Buckley from previous internal fraud alerts, denied the transaction, and called the police. In addition to identifying information from the known fraud victims, Buckley and an accomplice’s cell phones contained bank account information or social security numbers of at least 52 other individuals.
Buckley previously pleaded guilty on March 15, 2019.
“Identity theft crimes can have a devastating impact on victims, including financial losses and disruption of their lives,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “The law enforcement community will work to protect citizens from these crimes and to hold identity thieves accountable for their actions. Those who commit these crimes should understand that their conduct will result in federal prison time.”
“The United States Secret Service is committed to investigating financial crimes including the unauthorized use of personally identifiable information for financial gain,” said Timothy Benitez, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Manchester Resident Office. “The success of this investigation is a result of the cooperation between federal and local law enforcement partners across numerous states.”
“Today’s sentencing is the result of a coordinated effort with our state and federal partners,” said Inspector in Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Boston Division. “These types of financial losses can create hardships and long-lasting impacts for the victims. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service will continue to conduct investigations of individuals who compromise the personal information of our customers and jeopardize the integrity of the U.S. Mail.”
This matter was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Secret Service, and the Overland Park Kansas Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Hunter from the District of New Hampshire and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley from the District of Kansas.
According to creditkarma.com, top tips to guard against identity theft include:
- Check all your financial accounts for errors or suspicious activity.
- Enroll in a credit monitoring service.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Consider freezing your credit.
- Alert the authorities.
- Always use strong passwords and be aware of information you give out.