PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Florida man was sentenced to federal prison on Thursday for his role in an identity theft and bank fraud scheme targeting women in the Portland metro area, the U.S. Attorney in Oregon said in a press release.
Authorities identified the man as 30-year-old Delvin Mills of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., who was sentenced to 55 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $98,733 in restitution.
According to court documents, Mills was a Felony Lane Gang member, a criminal organization based in Florida that travels across the U.S. to break into vehicles and defraud people.
Authorities said the group targeted women who would leave valuables, such as purses or wallets, in parked cars. After the victim would leave their car, officials say gang members would break in and steal debit cards, checks or IDs to later use in fraudulent bank transactions.
Here’s how the scheme went in Portland
In 2019, Mills led a group who traveled to Portland to target potential victims. According to justice officials, after stealing items from a vehicle, members would see if any female co-conspirators resembled the victim to impersonate them and attempt to cash fraudulent checks in the victim’s name. Authorities noted gang members would cash the checks in the outer-most lane at drive-up bank teller windows in order to avoid detection.
Authorities said they identified 32 vehicles and 22 cases of bank fraud committed during Mills’ most recently-known spree in Oregon – resulting in a loss of more than $98,000. After he left Portland, officials said Mills and 27-year-old Damian Fletcher of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., traveled to Denver to break into cars and steal IDs there.
On June 6, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Mills, Fletcher and four others with aggravated identity theft, conspiring to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.
After Mills pleaded guilty and was released on supervision conditions pending sentencing, he was arrested again in Nevada for breaking into more cars, prosecutors said. Authorities said it didn’t stop there — one month after his arrest in Nevada, officials said he was arrested in Illinois for perpetrating another scheme like the one in Oregon. His arrest in Illinois led to a second federal conviction and is set to be sentenced on Wednesday.
Fletcher pleaded guilty on January 7, 2021, to conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. On May 3, 2021, he was sentenced to three years in federal prison with three years’ supervised release.
Authorities said co-defendants 28-year-old Megan Spurlock of Washington, 53-year-old Linda Marie Lupo of Florida and 29-year-old Justin Curry pleaded guilty and have been sentenced for their respective roles in the criminal ring.