DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Two people have been arrested and five more are wanted as part of a sting 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, Friday at police headquarters.
“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 the DeLand Kia and the Hyundai of Fort Myers dealerships. The fraudulent purchases were all made using the personal identification and information stolen from elderly victims.”
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According to a news release, 13 identity fraud victims have been confirmed so far and investigators believe there may be as many as 72 more victims scattered across the state. Police said most of the victims are elderly with at least four of them over the age of 90.
“These elderly folks they don’t really engage in credit monitoring,” Young said. “You know, once you get to a certain age you’re just trying to live your live and they’re not really monitoring their credit, um, and they become victims. They were taken advantage of.”
The chief said the victims were all located throughout South Florida, except for two who are deceased.
“The suspects accessed the public, Florida Highway and Safety database and website and they changed addresses on the driver’s license of these elderly victims,” Young said. “The suspects also utilized the same stolen personal identification information to open bank accounts. They took out loans. They purchased 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.”
Of the seven suspects named by police, only Drayton McMillan and Jennifer Polgar have been arrested. McMillan faces charges of fraudulent use of personal identification, criminal use of a deceased persons personal information and organized scheme to defraud. Polgar faces fraudulent use of personal identification and grand theft charges.
Shaquiledra Johnson, Thomas Taylor Jr., Erick Gilbert, Shatequa Burson and Freddie Farley remain on the loose.
The police operation was named Soul Stinger because the suspects were using the stolen identities to purchase Kia Souls and Kia Stingers. Young could not say why those vehicles were targeted.