SCOTTSDALE, AZ - A criminal syndicate involved in forgery, fraud, identity theft and money laundering was busted after a lengthy investigation by the Scottsdale Police Department.
Scottsdale police report that on October 5, three men were arrested for their involvement in a criminal operation that involved prostitution, the purchasing of jewelry with fraudulently obtained credit cards and a call center that would rip off people around the country.
Police say 35-year-old Ivan Vernell Wilcox was the head of the criminal syndicate.
They say Wilcox owns Consumer Advocate Consulting Group located in Phoenix near 32nd Avenue and Thomas Road.
One victim in Indiana, investigators say, received a call from the Consumer Advocate Consulting Group, saying they've been awarded a $53,000 grant but needed a $2,500 fee to process the grant.
Police say the other main part of the operation was to use fraudulent social security numbers to get credit cards, then use those credit cards to buy nearly $100,000 worth of jewelry in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Police say co-conspirators Lorenzo Patrick Taylor, 25 and David Andrew Johnson, 58, used fake credit cards to buy the jewelry.
The group would also allegedly have the credit cards delivered to their Laveen neighbors and take the cards when they were delivered, without the homeowners knowing.
Investigators were tipped off to Wilcox's operation and reportedly had an undercover officer, posing as a woman looking for work, contact Wilcox. Wilcox reportedly said he could put her to work "turning tricks or in other scams."
Police allegedly have a recording of Wilcox saying, "I got people who will buy Rolexes with credit cards and IDs that I give them. It's a quick way to make $3,000, $4,000, $5,000."
The group has been charged with a variety of crimes including fraudulent schemes, aggravated identity theft, and assisting in a criminal syndicate.