We’ve seen this before. A rap group posts pictures and videos online of themselves flaunting wads of cash, flashy jewelry, cars and what not, then find themselves on the wrong end of the law when it is discovered that it was all gotten through illegal means. The latest one of these groups to go down is the Freebandz Gang out of Charlotte. After posting photos and videos featuring the items mentioned above, seven members have been arrested and charged with scamming $1.2 million in fraudulent funds. Identity theft was their means of getting their spoils.
According to detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department a spike in the number of identity thieves in the area brought about a new task force to stop it. “It is a lucrative business,” said Sgt. Robert Sprague. “Using other neighbors, friends, family, relatives as their victims. Absolutely, it makes it very dangerous.”
According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV 2:
Investigators said the FreeBandz Gang members would approach people on social media, or in person, and offer $500 or $1,000 to open an account. Then, the suspects would allegedly deposit altered checks and withdraw money before banks detected the scam, officials said.
The group is also accused of stealing people’s identities to get cars and phones to resell. Federal agents said group members made off with roughly $1.2 million.
One of the Freebandz Gang’s victims was interviewed. The anonymous woman said, “When I deposited my check a couple of days later, my bank account had been closed due to fraudulent activity. All my hard-earned money that I actually worked for and saved for my daughter was gone.”
Each of the suspects faces up to 30 years in prison for their alleged crimes.