Tijuana-Based ID Theft Conspiracy Busted

Two men are charged with stealing mortgage broker customers' information and siphoning funds

A Tijuana-based identity theft ring which netted more than $100,000 and involved two men -- one of whom is a resident from San Diego’s South Bay -- has been taken down by U.S. federal officials, according to indictments unsealed this week.

Jason Ray Bailey, 38, of Chula Vista and Victor Alejandro Fernandez, 38, of Mammoth Lakes were arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer hacking.

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said the men hacked into a U.S. mortgage broker’s computer servers and stole mortgage applications, which included customers’ names, birth dates, social security number, assents, tax information and driver’s licenses.

Conspiracy members then used the victims’ information to open credit lines in their names and steal their assets, according to Duffy.

Charging documents say for example, Bailey and Fernandez targeted multiple victims’ brokerage accounts and took them over by calling the brokerage companies and providing the victims’ personal information. While talking with the companies, they would change the victims’ passwords and contact information.

Once they had control, the suspects allegedly wired funds from victims’ accounts to their co-conspirators’ U.S. bank accounts in the San Diego and Calexico areas.

Court documents said several wire transfers were more than $20,000 and $30,000 each, totaling more than $100,000.

The suspects stole about 4,200 customers’ data between Dec. 2012 and June 2013, though the scheme dates back to July 2011, according to charging documents.

Bailey will next appear in court for a detention hearing on March 4, and Fernandez’s detention hearing will be March 6.

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