Two arrested, $ te Bitcoin seized te large-scale fake ID case – The Blade

Mark Alex Simon, 34, leaves after appearing at the Federal Courthouse ter Toledo on Thursday, February 8, 2018. Simon wasgoed arrested on accusations he wasgoed manufacturing phony identification cards on a large scale.

The Blade/Kurt Steiss

Mark Alex Simon, 34, leaves after appearing at the Federal Courthouse te Toledo on Thursday, February 8, 2018. Simon wasgoed arrested on accusations he wasgoed manufacturing phony identification cards on a large scale.

The Blade/Kurt Steiss

Mark Alex Simon, 34, wasgoed charged Thursday, February 8, 2018 te U.S. District Court with producing and transferring false identification documents.

Mark Alex Simon, 34, wasgoed charged Thursday, February 8, 2018 ter U.S. District Court with producing and transferring false identification documents. Shown here are screengrabs from his purported private webstek teddanzignblrntr.onion.verbinding under the user name “TedDanzigSR”.

Mark Alex Simon, 34, wasgoed charged Thursday, February 8, 2018 ter U.S. District Court with producing and transferring false identification documents. Shown here are screengrabs from Reddit of his purported account under the user name “TedDanzigSR”.

Sarah Alberts reacts after the prosecutor states hier unie during hier arraignment te Toledo Municipal Court ter Toledo

THE BLADE/LORI KING

Sarah Alberts, a suspect ter the bitcoin/fake identification case, is arraigned te Toledo Municipal Court te Toledo.

THE BLADE/LORI KING

A deep entanglement of online currency, gold, and silver, and false identities appeared to unravel this week with the police seizure of $Four.7 million te Bitcoin and criminal charges against two northwest Ohioans implicated te a prolific fake ID scheme.

Two people &mdash, Toledoan Mark Alex Simon, 34, of the 4700 block of Stengel Drive, and Sarah M. Alberts, 34, of Perrysburg &mdash, have bot arrested following a multiyear investigation into the production of false identification cards.

Authorities believe Mr. Simon operated under the online pseudonym &ldquo,TedDanzigSR&rdquo, on the webstek Reddit.com. Posts on the webstek voorstelling Reddit users knew TedDanzigSR wasgoed someone they could go to when they needed fake IDs.

User Iserj21, for example, asked 11 months ago if TedDanzigSR&rsquo,s Utah IDs were in-state &ldquo,passable.&rdquo,

&ldquo,Eh. very likely not,&rdquo, TedDanzigSR replied. &ldquo,Maybe? [Michigan] will be for sure.&rdquo,

According to a lengthy affidavit filed Tuesday by the U.S. Secret Service te U.S. District Court, agents seized from Mr. Simon&rsquo,s Stengel Drive huis approximately $Four.7 million ter Bitcoin &mdash, a form of online currency &mdash, that wasgoed contained ter approximately 30 &ldquo,wallets&rdquo, stored on a USB thumb drive.

They also seized Legitimate gold coins, more than 200 silver coins, 21 gold and silver caf, documents relating to gold purchases, $7,000 ter U.S. currency, a Bitcoin receipt, USB storage devices, identification cards not issued te Mr. Simon&rsquo,s name, numerous computers and cell phones, and several printing-related items.

Mark Alex Simon, 34, leaves after appearing at the Federal Courthouse ter Toledo on Thursday, February 8, 2018. Simon wasgoed arrested on accusations he wasgoed manufacturing phony identification cards on a large scale.

The Blade/Kurt Steiss

Chained and dressed te an orange jumpsuit, Mr. Simon made a epistel appearance te federal court Thursday, where Magistrate Judge James Knepp ordered that he be detained pending trial.

Noah Rubber hood, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the court Mr. Simon presently is charged with three counts that each carry maximum sentences of 15 years ter prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

&ldquo,Thesis charges relate to conduct that occurred inbetween Jan. 12, 2016, and Feb. 6, 2018, specifically related to the production and transfer of Ohio driver&rsquo,s licenses,&rdquo, Mr. Bondage mask said.

Mr. Simon likely will be indicted by a federal grand jury on extra charges &mdash, a proces that vereiste take place within 30 days, officials said.

Judge Knepp found Mr. Simon indigent based on a financial affidavit listing his assets and liabilities and then appointed Toledo attorney Jane Roman to represent him. He scheduled a preliminary hearing for Feb. 23.

&ldquo,Mr. Simon, did you understand everything that just happened here?&rdquo, Judge Knepp asked.

&ldquo,Yes, your honor,&rdquo, he replied.

Court documents voorstelling Mr. Simon made no statements to agents upon his hechtenis, but asked for a lawyer.

Ms. Roman said afterward that she had just met Mr. Simon and knew little about the case. She confirmed that Mr. Simon had no previous criminal convictions.

Mr. Rubber hood declined to reaction questions about the case after the hearing, telling he could &ldquo,not comment on an ongoing investigation.&rdquo,

Mr. Simon is being held te the Lucas County jail on a $Five million unie, which wasgoed set Wednesday by Toledo Municipal Court Judge Joseph Howe.

Ms. Alberts is charged with engaging ter a pattern of omkoopbaar activity, conspiracy, money laundering, and manufacturing fake identification cards, according to affidavits filed ter Toledo Municipal Court. She wasgoed arrested Thursday, according to jail records, and wasgoed scheduled to emerge ter municipal court at 9 a.m. Friday.

No one answered the doorheen when The Blade visited Mr. Simon&rsquo,s huis or Ms. Alberts&rsquo, apartment Thursday. Attempts to reach Mr. Simon&rsquo,s family were unsuccessful.

According to the federal affidavit filed te Mr. Simon&rsquo,s case, the Ohio Department of Public Safety began investigating a fake ID scam ter October, 2015, after receiving a number of fake ID cards collected at a brochure te Springfield, Ohio. A Wittenberg University student told agents he and a friend got a fake ID through the Reddit.com webstek.

From there, investigators discovered a source for the phony Ohio driver&rsquo,s licenses and identification cards that could be purchased with Bitcoin. Mr. Simon is believed to be the seller who went by the name of &ldquo,TedDanzigSR,&rdquo, on Reddit, the affidavit shows.

Reddit is divided into niche forums, known spil &ldquo,sub-reddits.&rdquo, Thesis online communities pauze down into a multitude of interests, covering everything from kittens and puppies to pornography and drugs.

Mark Alex Simon, 34, wasgoed charged Thursday, February 8, 2018 ter U.S. District Court with producing and transferring false identification documents. Shown here are screengrabs from Reddit of his purported account under the user name “TedDanzigSR”.

TedDanzigSR wasgoed the username of one of four moderators for the &ldquo,TedDanzig&rdquo, subreddit.

Making a purchase from &ldquo,TedDanzigSR&rdquo, required consumers to go through a number of online communities, following precies protocols that could be found te a detailed FAQ &mdash, frequently asked questions &mdash, on the webstek Reddit.

Visitors to the subreddit could ask questions about the details of fake IDs and leave reviews of previous purchases. They could also explore a FAQ that detailed, among other things, how to make a purchase through dark web browsers such spil Tor, how the sellers determine pricing and shipping options, and even how to utilize a &ldquo,prizes&rdquo, program for leaving positive reviews.

The dark web is a segment of the Internet considered hidden from normal web browsing. Accessing sites on the dark web often require having special encryption or special software.

Ter a private message inbetween vendors, TedDanzigSR told another person he employed three people on the &ldquo,production side.&rdquo,

Te one public Reddit thread labeled, &ldquo,Buying things with resell money,&rdquo, TedDanzigSR posted about income and the potential about being audited.

&ldquo,I toevluchthaven&rsquo,t bought much at all with the profit,&rdquo, the user wrote te the postbode, which wasgoed quoted ter the affidavit from Mr. Simon&rsquo,s case. &ldquo,Saving for retirement. If you look at my possessions, you would think lower middle class, at best (wifey beaters all winter long). But I don&rsquo,t indeed see it being a problem if someone desired to. Just don&rsquo,t funnel money through any accounts ter your name and there isn&rsquo,t too much to worry about (te terms of IRS, etc.)&rdquo,

Using a dark web browser, consumers could make ID purchases on Mondays at 6 p.m. &mdash, a protocol initiated because of tremendous request.

The dark web webpagina &mdash, which says the operation began te 2012 &mdash, also provides consumers with a guide on how to decently take a photo for a fake ID.

On Thursday afternoon, within hours of Mr. Simon&rsquo,s federal court appearance, Reddit users began posting about the news.

&ldquo,I&rsquo,m somewhere inbetween shock and denial,&rdquo, user SVACER870 posted. &ldquo,Wij lost a legend today guys. Ted you will be missed.&rdquo,

One person, who has not bot charged, told investigators Ms. Alberts approached him to join ter the production of the counterfeit identifications scheme, according to court records. He joined the operation, and he said he would be paid te Bitcoin or gold.

According to that person, Mr. Simon received all of the orders and photos for the fake IDs, spil well spil customers&rsquo, private information, and mailing labels, the affidavit demonstrated. That information wasgoed sent to the employee, who produced the fake ID. Once ended, that person alerted Ms. Alberts.

Ms. Alberts would take the package to be mailed, court records state.

The employee wasgoed paid by Mr. Simon ter Bitcoin, while Ms. Alberts suggested to pay the employee te gold coins or gold kroegen, according to the affidavit.

A Twitter account with the same name, @TedDanzigSR, wasgoed created ter March, 2013 and posts began a month straks referencing fake identifications.

Several of the posts refer to orders being shipped, fresh equipment being purchased, or specials &mdash, such spil &ldquo,only $425 for Five people!&rdquo, Many of them included the hashtag #FakeID. Here is one postbode:

LIMITED TIME SPECIAL. 1 person $80 or Three people for $200. Both include free overnight shipping. Email us at [email protected] #FakeID

However other Twitter users &mdash, including users who billed themselves spil fake ID sellers &mdash, claimed the TedDanzigSR Twitter account wasgoed fake. They urged those looking to buy fake IDs to visit Reddit.

Sorry to hear you got scammed. No real vendor would use a hotmail email account

According to Meghan Cunningham, a University of Toledo spokesman, Mr. Simon received bachelor of science degrees te mathematics and physics from UT te 2007 and received a doctorate te physics te 2011.

He worked spil a postdoctoral research associate for the physics department from May, 2011, to June, 2012, but is not presently associated with the university, she said.

Staff writer Will Tomer contributed to this report.

Related movie: How Much can You make on a 500$ Bitcoin Mining Contract?


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