On May 7, the Florida Highway Patrol pulled a man over for speeding along a stretch of I-75 in Hamilton County. According to troopers, the 28-year-old man was doing at least 80 mph in a Nissan Altima rental car with Kentucky plates when they stopped him. One of the troopers reported that he could smell marijuana as he approached the car and said that the defendant admitted to having smoked some marijuana earlier. He denied having any with him in the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle later turned up 13.5 grams of marijuana in multiple locations throughout the car, but it was what troopers found in the trunk that could potentially cause the defendant the most trouble. There, in the trunk of the Altima, troopers uncovered two laptop computers, 34 counterfeit credit cards and a trove of sensitive documents containing the Social Security numbers and other personally identifying information.
The man was taken to the Hamilton County Jail, where he is being held without bond. He has been charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and 330 counts of identity fraud. The investigation regarding the alleged drugs and identity fraud still continues, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
In so-called white collar crime, prosecutors sometimes face an additional challenge of proving intent. For example, a person may have possession of a great deal of normally secret, personally identifying documents, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he also had the intent to use that information as part of a criminal act. Because of the difficulty of proving a person's criminal intent, sometimes prosecutors are more amendable to striking a balance by agreeing to a plea bargain with reduced sentences. However, a plea agreement is not always the best choice for all defendants.
Source: Suwannee Democrat, "Hamiliton: Miami man busted for drugs, 330 charges of identity fraud during traffic stop" Joyce Marie Taylor, May. 08, 2014