20 students indicted in fake ID probe

Thursday, Aug 1, 2013 4:57 PM
Last updated 9:00 PM
  • Follow Crime & courts

ATHENS, Ga. — A Clarke County grand jury this week indicted 20 students in connection with a sophisticated counterfeiting ring that spread hundreds of fake IDs throughout the University of Georgia and other college campuses.



The ring was headed by two roommates, who authorities said provided a door-to-door service, using couriers to take photos of customers in their own dorm rooms and collect personal information for the fake IDs, then delivered the finished product at prices that ranged from $50 to $100.

The indictments, filed Tuesday in Clarke County Superior Court, came after an exhaustive investigation by UGA police and the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office that began in August 2011.

UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said the probe took investigators to several college campuses in different states.

“This was a multi-state, multi-institution investigation,” he said. “It took us to colleges in Michigan, Alabama, Florida and several in Georgia.”

The alleged ringleaders were William Finley Trosclair, 22, a UGA recreational sports student assistant, and Tyler Andrew Ruby, 23, who attended Gainesville State College when the investigation began three years ago.

The other 18 people who were indicted sold and distributed fake driver’s licenses that authorities said were manufactured at the home Trosclair and Ruby shared at the Summit of Athens, a gated student community off Barnett Shoals Road.

During the investigation, authorities collected more than 400 fake driver’s licenses, but the actual number of IDs distributed by the ring might possibly reach more than 2,000, according to Williamson.

Trosclair was charged in the indictment with eight counts each of manufacturing and distribution of false identification documents and manufacturing and distribution of false identification documents containing unauthorized government seals.

Ruby was charged with nine counts of both crimes, according to the indictment.

The 18 other codefendants were charged with various counts of distributing the fraudulent documents. The offenses charged by the grand jury are felonies.

All but four of the people who were indicted attended UGA.

Williamson pointed out that each count involves multiple offenses, but prosecutors streamlined the case for presentation to the grand jury.

“This case was overwhelming,” the police chief said. “It was simplified for the court system to get things moving.”

In Trosclair’s case, for example, the student is accused in the indictment of making and selling 198 fake Georgia and Florida driver’s licenses. Ruby was similarly indicted for dozens of offenses.

At least 20 search warrants were executed during the investigation as authorities seized computers, laminating devices, email account records, bank safe deposit box contents and more.

The warrants, reviewed by the Athens Banner-Herald, revealed the following:

The counterfeit ring came to light Aug. 15, 2011, when a troubled student approached a resident assistant about a “conflict” between her and her roommate.

She explained the tension arose from her roommate’s involvement with the fake ID ring in which the roommate acted as a “middle person” between the manufacturers and buyers.

The resident assistant notified police the next day and an officer took the student’s written statement. The student also showed the officer where her roommate picked up the fake IDs — the home of Trosclair and Ruby.

The student gave police the names of students who had bought fake IDs from her roommate and they, in turn, confirmed the illegal transactions.

The buyers told police how a student came to their dorm rooms at Creswell Hall, used a cell phone to take their photos, then sent the pictures and text with personal information to be placed on the fake IDs to the manufacturer. The woman later delivered the fraudulent driver’s licenses to the students and took $75 as payment for each fake ID.

In September 2011, police searched the home at The Summit and seized computers, a printer, computer and camera memory storage devices, 200 blank ID cards, sheets of license hologram laminate for Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and New Jersey driver’s licenses in addition to other evidence.

Williamson said the availability of bootleg IDs strongly suggests that most bars and clubs frequented by students follow the law by requiring proof of age before selling alcohol.

“When you look at underage drinking issues, the mind-set often is it’s the business owners’ fault,” the police chief said. “This case shows that businesses are operating properly and in compliance with their liquor licenses because if they weren’t, we wouldn’t have this type of criminal enterprise going on.”

Comments (18) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 08/01/13 - 04:12 pm
0
0
It
Unpublished

starts with the parents.

IBeDogGone
3015
Points
IBeDogGone 08/01/13 - 06:17 pm
3
3
Question

What are the underaged students who purchased these fake ID's going to be charged with?

whyme
2070
Points
whyme 08/01/13 - 07:01 pm
3
3
what a shame

Too bad that the students are so desperate to get into drinking establishments that they have to break the law even further and get fake IDs. They should get some sort of consequences. It's not like they were in the wrong place/wrong time...it takes some minimal planning. Wonder if these are the same kids whose folks don't mind letting them drink underage at home?

Dixieman
16528
Points
Dixieman 08/01/13 - 10:09 pm
7
0
Oooops

I had about three of these back in the day. Where do I turn myself in?

belle
309
Points
belle 08/02/13 - 07:00 am
0
0
Parents Know
Unpublished

I know of a few parents who know their kids have fake id's and laugh about it. Shame on them. Yes, they will drink, but the parent's should not make it easier for them by encouraging them to participate in an illegal act in order to do so. Our children leave our homes with the values we give them. These are their foundations.

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 08/02/13 - 07:17 am
2
1
It's a right of passage for

It's a right of passage for college students. I'm on the fence with this one, but that roommate was just telling because they were mad and probably had an ID themself they didn't turn in. It's a shame for these young students to have their lives ruined with felonies and they're just starting to live.

IBeDogGone
3015
Points
IBeDogGone 08/02/13 - 08:15 am
3
0
IBeDogGone

My question of what was going to happen to the holders of these ID's was sarcastic. I have had fake ID's, used someone else's ID and almost every other senerio to get in somewhere I was suppose to be 40+ years ago. It seems to much time has been spent on what is breaking the law but basinh on an investigation on an unhappy room mate is a little extreme. Hope the room mate gets over her run and tell issues.

corgimom
36564
Points
corgimom 08/02/13 - 08:16 am
2
1
What is amazing is that the

What is amazing is that the people involved never thought anybody would tell.

As for those "young students", they were grown men, they knew what they were doing was wrong, and they brought this on themselves.

This wasn't some frat boys printing up ID's for the local pub. This was a very successful, professional counterfeiting ring, extending over several states, that made thousands of dollars.

2000 licenses x $100= $200,000. That's a LOT of money.

avidreader
3455
Points
avidreader 08/02/13 - 09:24 am
4
0
Draft Card!

In 1970, Georgia was a twenty-one state and S.C. was an eighteen state (for beer and wine). Most of the bars across the 5th and 13th street bridges accepted draft cards as ID. It was easy to adjust the birth date on the cards. All it required was a typewriter and a correction strip.

I mostly sipped one beer for two hours, but it was great to listen to live music in a real bar. Confession complete!

Sweet son
11079
Points
Sweet son 08/02/13 - 10:49 am
2
1
At 18 we went to the NASC pizza place right across the 13th

Street and drank pitchers from frosted mugs. Boy was that fun! And we saw no need to get smashed!

Sweet son
11079
Points
Sweet son 08/02/13 - 10:50 am
2
1
OH, and Buddy Carr of WBBQ fame used to stop at the beer store

next to the pizza place when he finished his morning show. Or so he told it!

itsanotherday1
46851
Points
itsanotherday1 08/02/13 - 12:29 pm
3
1
Is it just me or did kids

Is it just me or did kids today seem much less mature @ 18 than they did 40 years ago? They just seem to be much more "off the chain" than I recall when I was 18, but that could very well just be me becoming an OLD fart.

itsanotherday1
46851
Points
itsanotherday1 08/02/13 - 12:33 pm
2
1
Sweet son

Ate a few pizzas and drank few pitchers at that place. Did business with Bill too. Legal age when I was 18 was 18. They changed it to 21 on July 1 after I turned 21 in late June.

Sweet son
11079
Points
Sweet son 08/02/13 - 12:59 pm
2
1
itsanotherday

Thanks for naming the store. I couldn't remember Bill's. I bought beer there too! Was always impressed at the stacks of cases of beer!

internationallyunknown
4631
Points
internationallyunknown 08/02/13 - 03:37 pm
2
0
Don't snitch transcends race

Don't snitch transcends race lines, I see.

KSL
139899
Points
KSL 08/02/13 - 04:29 pm
2
0
When I was a freshman in

When I was a freshman in college in Mass, I had to change planes at Kennedy. There was usually a 3 hour layover. I really enjoyed going into a bar at the airport and ordering a drink because I could (GA 21/NY 18). But I didn't drink at all my first semester, except I had a drink in Brooklyn when my father came to NY to see his older sister who was dying of cancer. She lived in Westchester County with my grandparents. Daddy took me to Brooklyn to visit a lifelong friend
He offerred drinks, but eyed my father cautiously. I will never forget what Daddy said. "Susan, you have been at college. I know you have been drinking. Go ahead." LOL. At that point I had had one drink passing through the airport. I blinked once and ordered a drink I had heard of.

My father, a WW2 vet, had strong feelings that if you were old enough to carry a gun and fight for your country, you should be considered old enough to drink.

Red Headed Step Child
4269
Points
Red Headed Step Child 08/02/13 - 05:36 pm
2
0
Sounds like a lucrative way

Sounds like a lucrative way to pay for college these days... LOL

KSL
139899
Points
KSL 08/02/13 - 07:51 pm
0
0
Some years ago

I was married with 2 children when my brother was at UGA. He showed up at our house with remnants from his fraternity's bar that had been shut down. It included several cases of Coors beer well before it was sold here. Just goes to show that UGA produces businessmen.

What say you, youknowwho?

KSL
139899
Points
KSL 08/02/13 - 08:12 pm
0
0
The biggest crime here is

The biggest crime here is that they were not paying taxes,,,income, sales, etc. Lock them up!!!

KSL
139899
Points
KSL 08/02/13 - 08:16 pm
0
0
But first, get the missing

But first, get the missing tax money.

Back to Top

Top headlines

High court rules in probation case

Georgia's Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision concluding that it is legal for local courts to contract with private companies to supervise offenders on probation for minor violations.
Search Augusta jobs