The Broward Sheriff's Office and U.S. Secret Service’s Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force arrested five identity theft suspects accused of preparing to sell personal information of thousands of people.
BSO arrested Michael "Sharkey" Peters, 42; Tracy Menelas, 30; Devin Dorvil, 25; Troy Paul, 33; and, Kevin Bonhometre, 26, in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday as part of operation "Shark Tank."
BSO says the group gathered victims' names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, and Peter would then find buyers for the data.
Peters negotiated the sale of each victim's information for $14 to $20 in meetings with undercover detectives from January through March, BSO says. He handed over a list of about 1,300 names and a thumb drive with 5,000 others.
"They said they knew it was illegal. They even discussed the price of each name," said Broward Sheriff's Office economic crimes detective Mitchell Gordon. "There was discussion the price perhaps based on volume would come down to $14 per name."
"It was discussed that the defendants looked at a potential of $50,000 per person in profit by providing these names," said Broward County Circuit Court Judge John Hurley.
Each suspect faces a felony charges of aggravated white collar crime, fraudulent use of IDs, and computer crime with intent to defraud.
The source of the data remains under investigation.
"You can get them from the banks. You can get them from tax preparers or collection agencies. Anywhere that has your name, date of birth, social security number," said Gordon. "All you got to do is put 6,000 names on a thumb drive. When we printed it out, it came to 80 pieces of paper."
Gordon added anyone with that information could file taxes, open credit cards, open bank accounts, or buy homes in that person's name.
If convicted, each suspect could face at least 10 years in prison.