20 UGa students indicted in fake ID ring that stretched into several states
The indictments, filed Tuesday in Clarke County Superior Court, came after an exhaustive investigation by UGa police and the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office that began in August 2011.
UGa Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said the probe took investigators to several college campuses in different states.
Police say the suspected ringleaders were William Finley Trosclair, 22, a UGa recreational sports student assistant, and Tyler Andrew Ruby, 23, who attended Gainesville State College when the investigation began three years ago.
The 18 other codefendants were charged with various counts of distributing the fraudulent documents. The offenses charged by the grand jury are felonies.
All but four of those indicted attended UGa.
Williamson pointed out that each count involves multiple offenses, but prosecutors streamlined the case for presentation to the grand jury.
“This case was overwhelming, buy fake ids ” the police chief said. “It was simplified for the court system to get things moving.”
In Trosclair’s case, for example, the student is accused in the indictment of making and selling 198 fake Georgia and Florida driver’s licenses. Ruby was similarly indicted for dozens of offenses.
The warrants, reviewed by the Athens Banner Herald, revealed the following:
The counterfeit ring came to light Aug. 15, 2011, when a troubled student approached a resident assistant about a conflict that arose over her roommate’s involvement in fake IDs.
After the resident assistant called police, the troubled student spoke with police and showed them where her roommate picked up fake IDs, which the search warrant affidavits say was the home of Rosclair and Ruby.
Buyers told police a woman student came to their dorm rooms, filltrustid photographed them with a cell phone, sent the photos and personal information to the manufacturer. The woman later delivered the phony licenses and took $75 as payment for each.
In September 2011, police seized computers, a printer, computer and camera memory storage devices, 200 blank ID cards, sheets of license hologram laminate for Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and New Jersey driver’s licenses and other evidence.
Williamson said the availability of bootleg IDs strongly suggests that most bars and clubs frequented by students follow the law by requiring proof of age before selling alcohol.
“When you look at underage drinking issues, the mind set often is it’s the business owners’ fault,” the police chief said. “This case shows that businesses are operating properly and in compliance with their liquor licenses because if they weren’t, best fake id we wouldn’t have this type of criminal enterprise going on.”