Credit fraud

Credit Fraud Scheme Brings Knightdale Man 8 Years


Joshua Houchins will spend 10 years in federal prison for what prosecutors are calling a Ponzi scheme.

Photo file

For nearly seven years, Michael Anthony Griffin ran a credit repair business from his home in Knightdale, promising his clients that he could improve their financial profile for a fee.

But instead, according to federal prosecutors, he faked police reports to falsely show those customers had been victims of identity theft, sending them to the credit bureaus.

On top of that, Griffin used fraudulent identities to open Lowe’s credit card accounts, and he used false documents to obtain a Hyundai Genesis, according to his 2020 indictment.

For his guilty plea of ​​fraud, Griffin will spend 100 months in federal prison and will have to pay more than $ 400,000 in restitution. Several members of his family have already been sentenced in connection with this operation.

“He killed his whole family”

“Like a heavy, heavy anchor, he brought his entire family down,” said US District Court Judge Terrence Boyle, who sentenced Griffin on Wednesday.

The fraudulent gains and losses in the case total $ 3.4 million, the US attorney’s office said on Wednesday.

Assistant US Attorney William Gilmore cited 597 credit repair clients, adding that Griffin would fax fabricated police reports from his home office.

“He was the go-to person for getting false documents to rip off banks,” Gilmore said.

Griffin also used false identities for his own clients and for himself, according to the indictment. Of all the stolen Social Security numbers involved in Griffin’s case, Gilmore said, 91% were from minors.

“Why?” Gilmore asked rhetorically. “One, they can’t fight back. Two, they don’t even know.

“A massive fall from grace”

Griffin, fighting back tears and stopping frequently, apologized to his family. He spoke of growing up on a farm, having a promising baseball career thwarted by injury, and organizing fundraisers for young “little” basketball players.

“It’s not me,” he said. “I have always been a good father. I have always been a person to help my community.

Boyle stopped him.

“Did they get the wrong guys?” ” He asked. “Why are you here?”

“Because I am guilty of a crime,” Griffin said.

Griffin’s attorney, Raymond Tarlton, noted his client was already more than halfway away from paying his restitution.

“He’s done a lot of harm,” said Tarlton, “but there’s more to him.… It’s a massive fall from grace. He knows it.

This story was originally published 8 December 2021 13:14.

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Josh Shaffer is a general-duty reporter on the lookout for “talkers,” which are stories you might discuss around a water cooler. He has worked for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.