Canton, Cherokee County, Ga. October 13, 2011.The Cherokee Sheriff's Office Criminal Intelligence Unit has been conducting a lengthy investigation into an Identity Theft ring with victims from Cherokee County and across the United States. Investigators made key arrests in the investigation yesterday in Atlanta and Roswell. Robert A. Smith, 46 years old of Atlanta, was arrested at his high rise condominium in Atlanta. Also arrested Wednesday was Robert A. Hill, 49 years old at his Roswell home.
With the assistance of the United States Secret Service, Cherokee investigators executed 5 simultaneous search warrants in Fulton County seizing high end retail property, a 1999 Lexus, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and over $91,000.00 in cash.
The investigation began with one Cherokee County resident reporting credit card accounts which the victim had not initiated. Further investigation revealed that over 8,000 identities had been compromised from within the financial system and suspects were obtaining false driver's licenses under the names of victims from across the country. Suspects would then apply for credit in stores like Best Buy, Target, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes and then purchase high dollar items inside the store. The items were then transported to Hill who would sell them on eBay. Investigators suspect Hill has been conducting this operation for over 15 years with approximately $9 million in loss to various victims.
Additional arrests are anticipated. Hill is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Retail Property Fencing and Violation of the Georgia RICO Act. He is currently out on a $110,400.00 bond. Smith is charged with 5 counts of Identity Fraud, 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Identity Fraud, 1 Count of Conspiracy to Commit Retail Property Fencing and Violation of the Georgia RICO Act. He remains in custody with no bond.
"Identity Fraud is one of the number growing crimes in the US today. This agency is committed to aggressively investigating this type of crime and I am very pleased with the outcome of this case."
Sheriff Roger Garrison