WILMINGTON — Clinton County Sheriff’s deputies say they seized 12 allegedly forged Illinois identification cards connected to several 17- and 18-year-old students who purchased or sold the fake IDs. The IDs were shipped from China, according to the report, by way of a Filipino website, and were hidden in a box of athletic sweat bands.
Four of the five are students at East Clinton High School.
The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office forwarded the investigation report in mid-February to a juvenile prosecutor for review and possible charges against an unnamed juvenile, who allegedly ordered the IDs.
It’s unclear where the juvenile may be in the court process. Clinton County Prosecutor Rick Moyer said the juvenile was charged, but Moyer wasn’t immediately aware of the case’s status.
Meanwhile, three 18-year old students who allegedly possessed the fake IDs are currently charged with possession of criminal tools in Clinton County Municipal Court. All three are scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
A fourth adult student resides in Fayette County. No charges were filed against him in the Clinton County Municipal Court, the Clinton County Court of Common Pleas, the Washington Court House Municipal Court or the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas.
According to the CCSO investigation report, the three charged, 18-year-old East Clinton students each allegedly admitted to purchasing a fake ID — one stating he wanted to possibly purchase a pistol, if he found a good deal, and another allegedly admitted to intending to purchase beer. Neither student followed through on those intentions, according to the report.
The juvenile student, who allegedly provided the false IDs from January to February, purchased them from a website that has a Phillipines-based extension, and the IDs arrived in a box from China along with several athletic sweat bands.
The website, which features multiple images of alcohol and parties, promises to offer IDs that “are programmed to be scanned and to pass the backlight test.”
“What can you do with our fake ID?” the site asks. “Friends, parties, booze, late nights….a wonderful mix of life! Don’t be the one on the bench!”
The site takes payment from Western Union money transfers or BitCoin — a digital currency — and runs similar to many retail businesses – with promo codes for discounts, order tracking and reviews.
The IDs offered can appear to come from several states, including Ohio, IDs for which were more expensive than the Illinois ones that were purchased.
The website also comes with a statement of how owning one is legal in every country the site user knows of.
However, Ohio law explicitly says no one shall knowingly forge, sell or distribute identification cards. Doing so is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days jail and a fine up to $1,000.
As several students can now attest, you shouldn’t trust everything you read on the Internet.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.