The police have arrested a New York man who was involved in a dark web identity fraud scheme. 46-year-old Vaughn L. Lawhorn, of Brooklyn, saw his illegal act come to an end after he tried to use the identity of another man to purchase items at a Best Buy store. Lawhorn decided to buy two MacBook Pros, gift cards, and video games worth $4,000, in a Best Buy store in Hempfield.
According to the police, the New York native, went to the store with forged documents, trying to make the purchases, but was unfortunately rejected by store clerks, who were left suspicious, after questioning him. The culprit, however, returned later to the same store days later and again attempted to use the forged documents to make some purchases.
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The store manager, who had previously reported the first incident with Lawhorn, to a police Officer Brad Buchsbaum, then called the Penn Township police. Officer Buchsbaum, rang state troopers in Greensburg, who went to the store to arrest Lawhorn and detained him until he arrived at the scene. After he reviewed the store’s surveillance cameras, it was clear, Lawhorn was the suspect that had earlier tried to defraud the store.
According to court documents, Lawhorn, on his day of arrest, was in the same clothes he wore, the last time he tried to defraud the store. During interrogation, the culprit admitted to engaging in identity fraud using fake documents to defraud stores and financial institutions. Lawhorn added that he got all of his information from the dark web. He would purchase the stolen details, forge his documents, and then use them to carry out his illegal scheme.
Reports from the police state that aside from the fake credit cards and other documents, Lawhorn also forged his victim’s driver’s license. His victim was later revealed to be a man from Penn Township. The police also stated that Lawhorn’s dark web identity fraud spread throughout other states, including Maryland and California. An additional investigation uncovered several active arrest warrants for him in many states.
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Lawhorn was charged with two counts of identity theft, access device fraud, unlawful use of credit cards, and criminal attempt. Night court District Judge Jason Buczak ordered the culprit to be held without bond in county prison whiles law enforcement officials investigate the depth of the identity fraud, as he may have made other purchases, using the victim’s or another person’s identity.
Penn Township Police Chief John Otto speaking on the arrest stated that, for less than $100, the culprit could get the information he needed on a Pennsylvania driver’s license. He also admitted that the fake driver’s license with Lawhorn’s picture on it, together with the victim’s information, was extremely difficult to spot.
Police Chief Otto also added that it’s effortless for criminals to obtain people’s identities, and now with the help of the dark web, people will have to find ways to protect themselves. “The victim, in this case, was cautious with his information .He’s not stupid, and he’s not someone that puts his information out there all the time,” he stated.
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