A Rock Hill man is accused of using “synthetic identities” to steal $340,000 from Chase Bank and other financial institutions.
A criminal bill of indictment against 50-year-old Charles Whitlock Jr. was returned by a federal grand jury on April 20. The indictment was unsealed Monday after Whitlock’s first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler in Charlotte.
Whitlock was arrested Monday on bank, wire and mail fraud charges in connection with the scheme. He was jailed pending a detention hearing at 2 p.m. Thursday.
According to the indictment, a synthetic identity is a fake identity created with a combination of real and fake information about people. Sometimes it is entirely fake information, including names, social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and telephone and cellphone numbers.
The indictment accuses Whitlock of submitting more than 750 new credit card applications to financial institutions via the internet and by telephone, using synthetic identity information. The scheme lasted from December 2013 to last month.
The names of the other financial institutions are not in the indictments.
Bank fraud carries a maximum 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Wire fraud and mail fraud each carry a maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
According to the indictment, Whitlock sometimes used “pollinated synthetic identities” when he submitted new credit card applications containing synthetic identity information.
Pollinated synthetic identity means a synthetic identity is added as an authorized user of an existing credit card account. That enables fraudsters to inherit the credit history of the existing credit card account holder and makes it easier to get multiple new credit card accounts and higher credit limits, the indictment said.
To evade financial institutions’ new credit card fraud detection systems, Whitlock filled out the false applications using hundreds of addresses, including ones in the Charlotte area, court records show.
The FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service led the investigation.