The leader of an identity theft ring that stole over $1 million and ripped off the identities of over 180 New Yorkers has pleaded guilty.
Phillip Smith faces up to 22 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to identity theft and fraud charges. The plea by the 55-year-old Bronx resident came in federal court in Manhattan. Sentencing was set for Feb. 20.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the scam that has resulted in guilty pleas from seven other defendants was elaborate. Authorities say that over a three-year period, the ring stole identities, produced fake driver's licenses and ripped off major retail stores.
The ring was accused of fraudulently obtaining goods at stores in at least 12 states, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.