Two sentenced to federal prison for role in identity theft ring

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BROWN DEER (WITI) — 54-year-old Verita Hines-Flagg of Belleville, MI and 29-year-old Benjamin Hines of Detroit, MI were both sentenced to federal prison for their role in an identity theft ring which operated out of Michigan.

On August 19th Hines was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud followed by three years of supervised release. On August 21 Hines-Flagg was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud followed by a two year consecutive sentence for aggravated identity theft, for a total sentence of five years.

According to information release in court, in October 2012 the Brown Deer Police Department was notified by the Kohl’s Department store that two individuals had opened a $1,000 line of credit in an apparent identity theft. Loss prevention personnel in the store witnessed the account opening, the use of the suspicious identification document, and observed the individuals purchase a large amount of merchandise totaling approximately $1,000 immediately after opening the account.

The items they purchased included several cell telephones and other items easily resold for profit.

When officers arrived they observed a Lincoln car with out-of state plates in the parking lot, blocking traffic. The driver was identified as Hines. Hines-Flagg was identified as the passenger in the vehicle.

Both Hines-Flagg and Hines were taken into custody on theft charges.

The Lincoln they were driving was a brand new 2012 Luxury Lincoln and was valued at over $50,000.

The investigation of the Lincoln determined that it was a fraudulently leased vehicle and the lessee listed on the Illinois registration was a victim in the identity theft scheme.

During the same time period, four other luxury cars were also purchased by the co-conspirators, all of which were purchased by the conspirators using the stolen identities of various crime victims.