Man caught by Locust Police in 2022 sentenced to federal prison

Published 10:52 am Saturday, August 19, 2023

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A Florida man has been sentenced to federal prison, and Locust Police Department is the agency that captured him.
The department posted on Facebook Friday a response to the sentencing of Robert Allen Naber of Melbourne, Florida. He was sentenced to 48 months in prison for fraudulent use of U.S. passport cards in the execution of bank check fraud.
“In an example of how any law enforcement officer can make a huge difference regardless of where they work or the size of their city, a Florida man who was apprehended by the Locust Police Department was sentenced in a Michigan Federal Court to 48 months in federal prison for using fraudulent passports to commit bank fraud in multiple states. On August 11th, 2022, Locust officers were alerted by Locust Pinnacle Bank officials of an individual in the bank that was believed to be attempting to cash a fraudulent check. The man left the bank quickly but Locust officers were able to identify the suspect vehicle and initiate a traffic stop on West Main Street. Investigation by Locust officers and investigators identified a passenger in the vehicle as Mr. Robert Naber who already had federal warrants for his arrest in two states. Naber was arrested by Locust officers and transported to Stanly County Jail where he was later extradited by federal officials,” the statement reads. “The bulk of the investigation into Mr. Naber’s activities had already been completed by other states and federal agencies, but the Locust Police Department is proud of our officers for their contributions quickly locating and identifying Mr. Naber, apprehending him safely, and ending his multi-state fraud spree that had victimized multiple unsuspecting individuals. We also thank the quick acting employees of Pinnacle Bank in Locust for alerting us quickly so Naber could be located.”
The following release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Michigan, offers more details:

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten announced that Robert Allen Naber of Melbourne, Florida, was sentenced to 48 months in prison for fraudulent use of U.S. passport cards in the execution of bank check fraud. Naber could potentially serve a much longer time in prison because U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker ordered his federal sentence to run consecutively to two Iowa state prison sentences for similar conduct.

“Counterfeiters target the U.S. passport card because it is a lesser-known identity document and cheaper than other identifying documents to produce,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “I applaud the investigative work that went into this case to hold Mr. Naber accountable as a fraudster, to prevent further financial losses to banks, and to protect unsuspecting individuals from becoming victims of identity theft.”

According to court records, beginning in January 2022, Naber obtained counterfeit U.S. passport cards with the names and other details of victims whose personal identifying information had been stolen and posted on the Dark Web. He also obtained their bank account information and created forged checks in their names. The counterfeit cards contained the victims’ personal information but had Naber’s photograph on them. Naber then used the cards to cash forged checks from bank accounts in Iowa, North Carolina and Kent County, Michigan. He was briefly arrested after cashing checks in Iowa, but absconded from bond and continued his criminal activity.

The scheme ended in August 2022, when Naber was arrested in Locust, North Carolina while he was attempting to cash a check there. He was transferred to the Western District of Michigan for federal prosecution based on checks he passed in Kent County.

“Individuals and organized criminal groups are using counterfeit U.S. passport cards with increasing frequency in identity theft and related fraud schemes targeting financial institutions and retailers,” said U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service Detroit Resident Agent-in-Charge Matt Kupec. “The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to working with our partners to stop crimes that have the potential to result in millions of dollars in losses throughout the Midwest Region.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, with assistance from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Rapids Police Department, the Greenfield, Wisconsin Police Department, the Des Moines, Iowa Police Department, and the Locust, North Carolina Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay West prosecuted the case.