Ricky Lamont Flemings, 31, Antelope, California was sentenced to two years in prison for two counts of mail fraud in connection with a long-running scheme to deceive Experian and the other credit reporting agencies by exploiting provisions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a statute intended to provide consumer protections to individuals. According to court documents, from 2005 until November 12, 2009, Flemings engaged Experian on multiple occasions and falsely reported that he was the victim of identity theft. During that period, Flemings demanded that Experian remove derogatory and other entries from his credit report. However, as he well knew, many of those entries were proper and were the result of his having sought credit or purchased items on credit.
In total, as a result of Flemings’s false statements, Experian blocked 162 inquiries and 40 trade lines from his credit report. Once those trade lines and inquiries were blocked, Flemings then sought further extensions of credit, relying on the fact that creditors would be unable to access the fraudulently blocked entries. As a result, Flemings appeared to be a better credit risk than he actually was.
For instance, between July 9, 2009, and September 5, 2009, Flemings received financing from Schools Financial Credit Union (SFCU), a federally insured credit union, to refinance a 2005 Lincoln Navigator and to purchase a 2006 Monterey boat. The loans were approved after SFCU examined a credit report that did not include fraudulently blocked entries. After receiving credit for the Lincoln and boat, Flemings contacted Experian and reported that the entries on his credit report related to these two items were fraudulent and should be removed.
This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney André M. Espinosa prosecuted the case.