Las Vegas, Nevada - A Seattle man was sentenced Wednesday to 4 years and eight months in federal prison for stealing victims’ identities, using those identities to steal vehicles from car dealerships in several states, and then selling these vehicles to unwitting buyers, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI.
According to court documents, from February 2016 to March 2016, Justin Lee Tripp, 48, and others conspired to use personal identities without authorization to purchase more than $230,980 of vehicles in Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada. As part of the scheme, Tripp and a co-conspirator obtained other peoples’ personal information, produced false identification cards that included Tripp’s and the co-conspirator’s photographs, and used fraudulent lines of credit to purchase electronics and vehicles – including a Ford F350 pickup truck, a 5th Wheel RV trailer; and a Dodge Ram pickup truck.
In March 2016, Tripp attempted to buy two jet skis and a trailer at a Las Vegas dealership using a counterfeit driver’s license, fraudulent credit card, and a fraudulent money order. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers attempted to arrest Tripp who resisted multiple commands, assaulted the officers, and attempted to flee. After a struggle, officers arrested Tripp. At the time of his arrest, Tripp possessed a forged driver’s license and two fraudulent credit cards. During a search of the stolen truck Tripp drove to the Las Vegas dealership, officers found two California license plates that were reported stolen, and a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol that was reported stolen in Washington. Officers also searched a stolen 5th Wheel RV trailer and found methamphetamine, multiple license plates, a backpack containing burglary tools, and a forgery lab used to produce counterfeit documents that were used to further the fraud scheme.
At the time of the crime spree, Tripp was a convicted felon serving a federal term of supervised release in the Western District of Washington.
Tripp pleaded guilty in September 2020, to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon sentenced Tripp to three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the FBI and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Frayn prosecuted the case.