2 arrested, 5 wanted in statewide fraud investigation targeting elderly Floridians

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida. –Two people have been arrested and five others are wanted in connection with an undercover operation aimed at taking down a statewide fraud ring targeting elderly Floridians, according to Daytona Beach police.

Chief Jakari Young detailed the investigation, called Operation Soul Stinger, at police headquarters on Friday.

“The seven suspects (were) engaged in an ongoing scheme where they fraudulently purchased approximately $350,000 worth of new vehicles,” Young said. “These vehicles were purchased from DeLand Kia and Hyundai dealerships in Fort Myers. The fraudulent purchases were all made using personal identification and information stolen from elderly victims.

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According to a news release, 13 impersonation victims have been confirmed so far and investigators believe there may be as many as 72 other victims scattered across the state. Police said most of the victims are elderly, with at least four over their 90s.

“These older people don’t really engage in credit monitoring,” Young said. “You know, once you get to a certain age, you just try to live your life and they don’t really watch their credit, uh, and they become victims. They’ve been taken advantage of.”

The chief said the victims were all in South Florida except for two who died.

“The suspects accessed Florida Highway and Safety’s public database and website and changed the addresses on the driver’s license of these elderly victims,” ​​Young said. “The suspects also used the same stolen personal identification information to open bank accounts. They took out loans. They bought cell phones and they applied for unemployment benefits. The suspects also used the personal identification to apply for COVID-related SBA loans. The suspects created Florida driver’s licenses, as well as passports.

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Of the seven suspects named by police, only Drayton McMillan and Jennifer Polgar have been arrested. McMillan faces charges of fraudulent use of identification, criminal use of a deceased person’s personal information and an organized scheme to defraud. Polgar faces charges of fraudulent use of personal identity and grand theft.

Shaquiledra Johnson, Thomas Taylor Jr., Erick Gilbert, Shatequa Burson and Freddie Farley remain at large.

The police operation was named Soul Stinger because the suspects were using the stolen identities to buy Kia Souls and Kia Stingers. Young could not say why these vehicles were targeted.

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