MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Four Twin Cities residents pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court for stealing personal information from hundreds of people and using it to create fake documents and counterfeit checks that were passed at retail stores to purchase expensive merchandise, which was then returned to the stores for cash.

According to United States Attorney B. Todd Jones, the counterfeit checks were also passed at various banks where co-conspirators deposited the checks into the accounts of unsuspecting victims, and then withdrew money from those same accounts.

Donyea Terrell Collins, 26, of Richfield, 18-year-old Trey Jeremiah Powell of Brooklyn Park, 46-year-old Elston Edwards Sharps of Minneapolis, and 27-year-old Vinicia Andrell Williamson of Minneapolis specifically pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

In their plea agreements, the four individuals admitted to being part of a large-scale identity theft ring responsible for the theft of approximately $2 million from financial institutions in no fewer than 14 states.


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