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Three indicted for allegedly running credit fraud scheme

Two Baltimore men and a third from Virginia have been charged with running a $2.5 million scheme using stolen Social Security numbers to allow people with bad credit to establish new credit histories and obtain loans and property. A federal grand jury in Baltimore indicted Benjamin Bland, 39, of Glen Allen, Virginia; Michael Westbrook 36; and Anthony Simpson, 43, both of Baltimore. Bland owned New Credit History, a company headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, that offered the chance to get a “secondary credit number.” Westbrook owned The Westbrook Project, a home renovation company incorporated in Maryland. According to the 17-count indictment, from February 2012 to October 2014, the defendants obtained Social Security numbers previously issued to others and sold the numbers by email and cellphone text messaging. The defendants provided counterfeit Social Security cards and driver’s licenses. The three each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on various fraud charges.