A 29-count indictment handed down by Los Angeles grand jury in identity theft allegations.

Earlier this month, a Los Angeles grand jury handed over a 29-count indictment charging six California residents with defrauding banks out of $3 million or more in an identity theft operation.

The thieves concentrated their Identity Theft, a federal crime when crossing , primarily on people with high credit ratings; then, they would open up a line-of-credit at specific banks, using the funds for their personal expenses.

Upon approval of their business loan applications, the banks deposited funds into numerous corporate accounts tied to lines of credit; amounts approximated $100,000 in each account. Then, the accounts were drawn down with checks made out to the "defendants for their personal use."

All told, the six defendants were able to successfully open, and then zero-out over 70 credit lines.

The indictment named Andrea Lorraine Avery, 44, of Los Angeles and five others in carrying out their fraudulent scheme by opening a number of business lines-of-credit at Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America.

"The stolen identities were also used to create bogus corporate officers of shell corporations that did not exist...allegedly concocted profits for the bogus businesses in each of the applications and transmitted false tax documents...according to the indictment."

Fake offices were obtained by renting out virtual office spaces and going so far as filling the spaces with rental equipment. Too, they hooked up with willing “co-conspirators” to act as front-office people; this, to show banking officials that the applicants were "legitimate during on-site inspections."

The group was successful in obtaining personal information such as dates of birth, credit profiles, Social Security numbers, FICO scores and driver’s licenses to then complete the bank's loan applications.

Convictions on all accounts points to a maximum statutory sentence from 750 to 870 years. The U.S. Attorney's Office will handle the prosecution of the case; parties involved in the investigation included the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as well as the Criminal Investigative Division of the IRS.

While the indictment charges the defendants with "bank fraud," it’s important to remember that an indictment is only an allegation, even though charges have been levied at some point. If you need a professional team to help guide you through any indictment process, contact Michael Berg's San Diego criminal defense office at (619) 239 2186 or online through our contact form.