SACRAMENTO, Calif. (WIVB) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that two New York residents, including a Buffalo man, were sentenced for selling fake IDs on the darknet.
Evan Hayes, 28, of Buffalo and Andrea Alessandrini, 34, who’s originally from Italy, were sentenced for selling and conspiring to transfer false identification documents on numerous darknet marketplaces. Hayes pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on Nov. 16, 2020 and Alessandrini pleaded guilty on July 12, 2021.
Alessandrini was sentenced to 20 months in prison April 5, 2021 for creating a vendor account on the marketplaces to sell various fake documents. Hayes was sentenced to 18 months in prison Monday for producing and mailing most of the documents. The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
According to the Department of Justice, court documents revealed the pair sold over 300 fake New York IDs, four social security cards, 15 false birth certificates, 28 state ID card holograms, an ATM skimmer and 410 “farmed” identity packages, meaning they were stolen or fraudulently produced, from at least May 2015 to October 2017, in exchange for cryptocurrency.
The Department of Justice reported that in that time period, the pair conducted between $250,000 and $400,000 worth of transactions on one site alone. The U.S. seized evidence concerning the sale of the documents, which has reportedly been shared with other law enforcement agencies for use in additional investigations.
The U.S. is said to have forfeited the proceeds of the sales, including about $134,881 in cash, 14.78 bitcoins, 285 ounces of silver, four ounces of gold and 22 prepaid gift cards, though it was not made clear as to whom the proceeds were forfeitted.