ORLANDO, Fla. -- An Orlando couple has been arrested for running a scheme in which they stole personal identification information from nearly 400 people through an email phishing scheme and collected about $550,000, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Thursday.
Only NBC Orlando's Bob Kealing was there when law enforcement officers arrested 46-year-old Steve Vincent Barone and his 44-year-old wife, Robin Barone, after serving a search warrant at the couple's home near the Osceola County border following a nine-month investigation. They were each arrested on charges of organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and criminal use of personal identification.
Attorney General Pam Bondi's Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the case. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office's Financial Crimes Task Force assisted FDLE in the investigation.
"Identity theft wreaks havoc on people's lives, and my Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute these individuals to the fullest extent of the law," Bondi said in news release. "I urge all Floridians to visit MyFloridaLegal.com for identity theft prevention tips, and I encourage everyone to be vigilant and extremely cautious when giving anyone your personal information."
FDLE officials say the Barones led a criminal organization that stole personal information from JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo account holders by soliciting them through e-mail. Once they received the personal information, the Barones ordered replacement debit cards and had the fraudulent cards sent to themselves at numerous Central Florida addresses, an FDLE statement said.
"Agents believe this couple stole money from hundreds of victims," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "The crime was wide reaching, damaging not only the obvious victims but also other consumers and our business community."
After receiving the fraudulent debit cards, the release said, Steve Barone purchased money orders and deposited them into his business account, Steve Barone Enterprises, LLC.
According to FDLE, 396 compromised accounts were identified.
Steve and Robin Barone were booked into the Orange County Jail on $180,000 and $105,000 bond respectively.
FDLE officials said the investigation is ongoing, and there could be additional arrests.