Third Defendant Pleads Guilty in Fake ID-for-Bitcoin Case

A third defendant pleaded guilty in a string of court cases against a Toledo, Ohio-based fake ID ring that is said to have netted over $4.7 million in bitcoin, according to a report by The Blade.

Sarah Alberts, of Perrysburg, Ohio, admitted to charges of money laundering, conspiracy and knowingly possessing with intent to use unlawfully or transfer unlawfully five or more identification documents.

Alberts participated in a large-scale operation to distribute driver’s licenses and other identification cards across the nation that operated in online forums such as Reddit and transacted in bitcoin.

The group was active between June 2013 and February 2018, until federal investigators arrested three of the participants.

Police initially seized $7,000 in cash, a thumb drive with $4.7 million in bitcoin, six pre-paid crypto debit cards registered under other identities, as well as gold and silver bars.

Co-defendants Mark Alex Simon and Aaron Kuns previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to launder money. Simon also pleaded guilty to knowingly transferring false identification documents, and Kuns to the production of false identification documents. The government seeks the forfeiture of $2.8 million and $2.8 million from Simon and Kuns, respectively.

Additional charges of production of identification documents and transferring an identification document were dismissed as part of Alberts plea deal.

According to court documents, Simon – the ringleader – would receive customer orders to his Reddit avatar “TedDanzigSR” and forward client’s photos, personal information and mailing labels to Kuns to produce the fake IDs. Alberts was responsible for mailing the packages.

According to The Blade, Kuns was paid by Simon in bitcoin, and Alberts paid him in gold coins or bars. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 8.

Benjamin Stalets, another alleged ring participant, was also formally charged.


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