MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two Minneapolis men pleaded guilty Thursday in St. Paul to roles in an identity theft ring responsible for the loss of $2 million to banks and retail stores in 14 states.

Steven Lavell Maxwell, 43, and Joel Delano Powell III, 19, admitted stealing personal information from hundreds of people and using it to create fake identification documents and counterfeit checks that were then passed at retail stores to purchase expensive merchandise subsequently returned for cash.

The counterfeit checks were also deposited into the bank accounts of unsuspecting victims, and then money was withdrawn from those same accounts.

Maxwell and Powell specifically pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

In addition, Maxwell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering. Twenty-one of the duo’s co-conspirators have already entered guilty pleas.


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