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UPDATE: CSPD Racketeering Investigation, 9 of 11 Suspects Now in Custody

By: KKTV
By: KKTV

A crime ring has been busted Wednesday, with nine people arrested for their role in an identity theft ring responsible for defrauding local victims and financial institutions of more than $63,000. The Colorado Springs Police Department announced eight of the arrests in a press conference Wednesday morning. The ninth arrest was made later on Wednesday.

The Financial Crimes Unit noticed an increase in reports of identity theft in March 2010, with a number of fictitious checks and counterfeit bills being passed around stores and restaurants in Colorado Springs. After a lengthy investigation involving the CSPD, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, direct links between a criminal organization self-identified as “Paper Cha$ers Ink” and 22 reported crimes, including identity theft and forgery, was found.

Officers say that “Paper Cha$ers Ink” commits crimes to support the members’ meth addiction, as to obtain supplies to continue their counterfeiting and identity theft operation.

Police say this group was breaking into homes and cars, stealing checks and credit cards and also printing up fake bills. They were using them at local businesses.

"They would take the lower level members of the organization and they would go into businesses and buy goods or cash checks. Then the goods were returned for cash or pawned," said Detective Wayne Lambert with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Police say a break in the case came when phony bills and checks were found in a garbage can outside one of the suspect's rental homes. Inside the home police found equipment used to make fake money.

"We recovered three laptops we discovered had digital copies of federal reserve notes. They could alter them and print," said Ryan Campbell with the U.S. Secret Service.

Police say they later raided several other homes and motel rooms where money was also being made. This ring is accused of victimizing more than 60 families, banks, and businesses.

The primary leader of the organization has been identified as 29-year-old Nicholas R. Johnson.
His subordinate lieutenants are identified as: Lee Lacey, 35, Jennifer C. Burrell, 31 and Daimion Daniel Danyluk, 33.

Other members have been identified as: Alexandra C. Lofton, 24, Amanda R. Hall, 24, Mike Honneywell, 47, Justin James Ulmer, 21, Steven Michael Hoy, 20, Brandon Michael Bishop, 22 and Ruben Villarreal Alaniz, 55.

Johnson, Lacey, Burrell, Danyluk, Lofton, Honneywell, Hoy, Bishop and Alaniz have all been arrested. Alaniz was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon. Hall and Ulmer remain at large.

According to police, the suspects will face the following charges:

Mr. Johnson (In Custody) - one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, 5 counts of Identity Theft class 4 Felonies, and 4 Counts of Forgery a class 5 Felony. With these charges Mr. Johnson is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 4 - 48 years.

Mr. Lacey (Arrested) - one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, 3 counts of Identity Theft a class 4 Felony, and one count of Motor Vehicle Theft a class 5 Felony. With these charges Mr. Lacey is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 4-48 years.

Ms. Burrell (Arrested) - one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, one count of Identity Theft a class 4 Felony, one count of Theft a class 4 Felony, and one count of Forgery a class 5 Felony. With these charges Ms. Burrell is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 4-48 years.

Mr. Danyluk (Arrested) - one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, one count of Computer Crimes a class 4 felony, one count of Identity Theft a class 4 Felony, and two counts of Theft a class 4 felony. If convicted of all counts Mr. Danyluk faces a possible prison sentence of 4-48 years.

Ms. Lofton (Arrested) - one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, and one count of Forgery a class 5 Felony. If convicted of all counts Ms. Lofton faces a prison sentence of 4-48 years.

Ms. Hall (At Large)- one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, and one count of Money Laundering under CRS: 18-5-309 a class 3 Felony. With these charges Ms. Hall is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 4-48 years.

Mr. Honneywell (Arrested) - one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft a class 5 Felony. With these charges Mr. Honneywell is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 4-48 years.

Mr. Ulmer (At Large)- one count of a Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act a class 2 Felony, and one count of Identity Theft a class 4 Felony. With these charges Mr. Ulmer is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 4-48 years.

Mr. Hoy (Arrested) - one count of Conspiracy to Commit Identity Theft a class 5 Felony. With this charge Mr. Hoy is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 1-3 years.

Mr. Bishop (Arrested)- one count of Theft by Receiving a class 4 Felony. With this charge Mr. Bishop is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 1-3 years.

Mr. Alaniz (At Large)- - Solicitation to Commit Money Laundering under CRS 18-18-408 a class 4 Felony, and one count of Forgery a class 5 Felony. With these charges Mr. Alaniz is facing a possible prison sentence if convicted of 1-12 years.

Anyone with any information about these crimes are asked to call CSPD at 444-7000 or leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP.


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