North Carolina man sentenced to more than eight years in prison, supervised release and more than $400,000 in restitution for role in identity fraud ring
Published 4:35 pm Wednesday, December 29, 2021
A Knightdale man was sentenced to 100 months in prison and five years of supervised release and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $412,885.17 on a charge of bank fraud and aiding and abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 2, according to a December 8, 2021 press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina.
“Defendant Michael Griffin was the leader of an organized scheme to use stolen and synthetic identities to defraud numerous banks. As a part of his scheme, the defendant roped in and used many of his family members and clients, who are now paying the price for their involvement,” stated United States Attorney Michael F. Easley Jr. stated. “This case is a cautionary tale to the public: If someone offers to get you an alternate social security number, credit profile number, (‘CPN’) so that you can open credit lines or obtain loans – they are inviting you to participate in a crime. Don’t do it. It could land you in federal prison.”
The indictment charged that Griffin, operating from his business location in Raleigh and home in Knightdale, accepted fees from clients for alleged credit repair services. The indictment alleged that, in reality, Griffin was creating fictitious credit profiles and fraudulently altering client credit data through the use of fictitious police reports.
The indictment further charged that various defendants, many of whom were family, conspired with Griffin to defraud Synchrony Bank, a Lowe’s credit card provider, by opening credit accounts in the name of fraudulent identities, cashing out the accounts through prepaid card purchases and then defaulting on the credit accounts. The indictment also charged various defendants with similar frauds against other banks, including Capital One and Discover.
On August 24, 2021, Griffin pleaded guilty to Count 14 of the second superseding indictment, which charged that the defendant, in cooperation with codefendant Jasper Goodman, defrauded Synchrony Bank on a credit account in the name of Michael Jones. Count 14 further alleged that the defendant and Goodman created the identity using a stolen Social Security number and that the two used the fraudulent credit account between February and November of 2018.
“Although Griffin pled guilty to only one count, at the sentencing today [December 8], Griffin was held accountable under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines for intended losses and fraudulent gains of more than $3.4 Million,” stated the release. “He was also ordered to make restitution for identifiable losses totaling $412,885.17.”
In connection with this case, many of Michael Griffin’s codefendants were sentenced by the court earlier this year. These included Regina Griffin (Griffin’s sister), Sharon Annita Edmond (Griffin’s sister), Creshun Alexandria Griffin (Griffin’s daughter), Katina Griffin Perry (Griffin’s sister), Harvey Griffin (Griffin’s brother), Angela Griffin (Griffin’s wife), Melvin Griffin (Griffin’s brother), Jasmine Mariah Davis (Griffin’s client), Tyrone Edmonds (Griffin’s client) and Shawn Allen Farmer (Griffin’s business associate).
Codefendant Jasper Deonta Goodman was scheduled to be sentenced for his role in the fraud December 9, 2021. Goodman previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud. The maximum punishment for bank fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344, is not more than 30 years imprisonment.
Easley made the sentencing announcement. The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the United States.