All three suspects arrested during a federal investigation into fake IDs appeared in Charlottesville Federal Court Wednesday morning. Federal authorities believe the suspects have mailed over 4,000 fake IDs since 2011.
The federal investigation began in South Carolina at the College of Charleston with reports of students obtaining fake IDs from an online business. The investigation led investigators to a home on Rugby Road in Charlottesville.
Monday night federal investigators raided the house located at 920 Rugby Road and arrested Kelly McPhee, 31, and Mark Bernardo, 26. The investigation at the home continued Tuesday and eventually ended with the arrest of a third suspect - Alan Jones, 31, at Barracks Road Shopping Center Tuesday night. Investigators say Jones went by as many as six aliases, including Joshua Tucker, JD Tucker, Jonathan Williams, Charles Williams, Charles Brown and Thomas Taylor.
Alan Jones and Kelly McPhee face three charges: fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, wire fraud and mail fraud. If convicted on all three, they could face a maximum penalty of 53 to 55 years in prison.
The third suspect, Mark Bernardo, faces two charges: fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents and money laundering.
McPhee and Jones said they wanted to find their own attorneys, whereas Bernardo requested a public defender.
All three could face additional charges. They will appear in court again on May 16 at 2 p.m.
Students in Charlottesville say they were not aware of the operation, but say that's because students who want them get them overseas.
"I know a lot of people order them online, there's a lot of sites in China that sell those kind of things. You can always find somebody who you can get a fake ID with," said Peteris Selms, student at UVA.
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012.Full Story
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012. She is a proud alum of Howard University and is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication at Johns Hopkins. Email/ Full Story
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