Six people have been charged with operating a car theft ring that used stolen or fake identities to purchase cars from dealerships, including several in DuPage and Cook counties.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and DuPage County Attorney Robert Berlin announced the charges at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The ring was led, Raoul said, by Anthony Brown, 40, of Lansing, and Sierra Wells, 27, of Orland Park. They are charged with Identity Theft, Aggravated Possession of a Motor Vehicle, Organizing a Continuous Business of Financial Crimes, Theft by Deception, Financial Institution Fraud and Forgery.
Raoul said the indictments alleged that in the fall of 2020 the duo had devised a plan to take high-value vehicles. Wells is accused of providing the identities to Brown, who then used money and drugs to recruit people to apply for financing at car dealerships and purchase the vehicles, Raoul said.
Brown and Wells could receive probation or six to 30 years in prison if found guilty.
The case was investigated by Raoul’s office, the Barrington and West Chicago Secret Service and Police Department, as well as banks, insurers and representatives of the auto industry. Raoul said the Westmont Police Department was also involved.
Raoul has stated that Brown is a rapper named Tony Sosa.
Kevin Bandy, 48; DeAngelo Hackney, 39; James Krout, 47; and Zebedee Moore, 48, were charged with identity theft, aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle, theft by deception, financial institution fraud and forgery. They risk two to fifteen years in prison. According to DuPage County Court records, Bandy lives in Hammond, Indiana; Hackney lives in Ford Heights; and Krout lives in Chicago.
The cases are being prosecuted in DuPage and Cook counties, but Raoul did not specify which case is in which county.
DuPage County Court records show that charges were laid against Wells on August 31. She was released from DuPage County Jail on September 2.
The group is charged with seven thefts in DuPage County and six in Cook County. Napleton Porsche, Laurel BMW and McGrath Lexus in Westmont, Bill Jacobs Volkswagen in Naperville, Lucky Motors in Villa Park and Haggerty Ford in West Chicago were among the victims, according to DuPage County Court records.
David Sloan, president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, said he was happy to learn of the arrests.
“This is becoming an increasingly important problem among car dealerships in the region,” he said. “Both for identity theft and also for late night car hijacking at dealerships. Often times you find that these stolen vehicles are then used in other crimes. “
Berlin said $ 5.7 million worth of vehicles were stolen last year from DuPage and that thefts have “skyrocketed” in the past two years.