Federal grand jury indicts four in local fake ID, Bitcoin case






Four local residents accused of taking part in a large-scale fake ID manufacturing and distribution ring were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury.

Mark Alex Simon, 34, of the 4700 block of Stengel Avenue; Sarah Alberts, 34, of Perrysburg; Aaron Kuns, 33, of the 3700 block of Delawn Drive, and Benjamin Stalets, 28, of the 2200 block of Parkwood Avenue, each were indicted on four counts: production of false identification documents, transfer of false identification documents, possession with intent to transfer false identification documents, and possession of document-making implements and authentication features.

The charges were filed in U.S. District Court in the wake of their arrest last month following a lengthy investigation by state and local authorities. The indictment alleges that between June, 2013, and February of this year, the group created and transferred fake driver’s licenses and personal identification cards that appear to have been issued by the states of Ohio, Michigan, and Utah.

Mr. Simon, who is alleged to be the head of the operation, was arrested Feb.6 when police searched his South Toledo home and car and seized gold and silver coins and bars, cash, computer equipment, and what is believed to be millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency Bitcoin. Search warrants were executed the same day at the other three defendants’ homes and vehicles.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of more than 500 Bitcoins with an estimated value of $5.1 million, approximately $8,600 in cash, as well as gold and silver coins with an estimated value of $265,299.

Investigators said Mr. Simon was selling fake driver’s licenses and other identification cards through the website reddit.com under the user name TedDanzigSR. Customers paid for the fake IDs with Bitcoin.

According to court documents, Mr. Kuns told investigators that Ms. Alberts approached him about a year and a half ago about getting involved with the counterfeit ID operation, telling him he would be paid in Bitcoin or gold.

Mr. Kuns reportedly said Mr. Simon received the orders and then sent photos, personal information, and mailing labels to Mr. Kuns for processing using encrypted files. Mr. Kuns said he would make the IDs, package them for delivery, and Ms. Alberts would pick them up from his garage and mail them.

He told police Mr. Simon ordered all of the supplies and equipment and had them shipped to Mr. Kuns’ home.

Mr. Simon currently is being held in the Lucas County jail, while his co-defendants have been released on bond.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: [email protected] or 419-213-2134.

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