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Theodore Stephen Michaels, University of Maryland Student, Could Face Decades In Jail For Fake ID Ring

First Posted: 05/06/11 04:44 PM ET Updated: 07/06/11 06:12 AM ET

Fake Id

A University of Maryland student could face significant jail time for allegedly producing and selling fake IDs from his dorm room.

The Diamondback details the 16 count indictment against the 20-year-old Theodore Stephen Michaels:

If convicted, Michaels faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy, 15 years for each of the seven counts of the production and transfer of fraudulent identification documents, and another 15 years for possessing document-making implements, the U.S. attorney's office said. He could also face a $12,500 fine in addition to jail time.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Michaels is a triple-major at the university and a straight-A student. A "co-conspirator" was also mentioned in the indictment but has not been charged at this point.

The Sun has more on Michaels' sophisticated techniques:

The nine-page indictment claims that Michaels, now 20, made phony Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania licenses from October to November 2009, selling the identification documents for under $200 each and offering freebies to those who brought him at least five referrals. Most of his customers came through connections from his Montgomery County high school days, the indictment says.

As selling points, Michaels allegedly highlighted his ability to mimic individual state holograms and the machine-readable magnetic strips found on most licenses today — two features that were added to identification documents in the mid-1990s to thwart increasingly skilled counterfeiters.

Steven D. Kupferberg, Michaels' lawyer, told the Sun that he was "surprised" by the indictment. "I don't see how this particular case is any more or less significant than what you find in College Park every day or on any college campus, for that matter," he said.

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Filed by Rebecca Harrington  |