Fake ID bust: Feds go after Rugby Road trio

Federal authorities and heavily armed state police swarmed a Rugby Road home today after issuing charges against three Charlottesville residents last night.

Arrested at 920 Rugby Road on Monday, May 6, 2013, were Kelly Erin McPhee, 31, Mark G. Bernardo, and 31-year-old Alan McNeil Jones, a.k.a. Joshua Tucker, all of Charlottesville.
All are charged with wire fraud, mail fraud and other activities related to the manufacturing of false identification, which in a college town summons to mind the term "fake IDs." 
According to a release, Jones fled custody and is currently a fugitive who may be driving a white Range Rover with Washington State plate ALH-8881.

While the severity and extent of the alleged crimes committed by the arrestees remains unknown, the presence of an armored vehicle and at least half a dozen Virginia State Police tactical Team members carrying high powered assault rifles certainly stood out in a neighborhood known for its genteel homes with immaculately manicured lawns, and neighbors spent the day wondering what had happened inside the stucco-sided house.

"We never saw anyone there," said one Rugby Road resident, who asked not to be identified.

The house at 920 Rugby Road is owned by Phillipe LLC, which, according to SCC filings, is registered to local builder Stephen Jacques, who did not return the Hook's call by posting time.

According to Brian McGinn, spokesperson for the Western District of Virginia U.S. Attorney's office, the arrests resulted from a joint investigation by Homeland Security, the Postal Inspection Service, Virginia State Police and University of Virginia Police.

McPhee and Bernardo have initial court appearances on Wednesday, May 8, in federal court.

Developing story...

73 comments

"registered to local builder Stephen Jacques"

This was built as a spec-house on a perhaps questionable lot during the doldrums of the real estate and financing crisis, no? I would assume those pursued and arrested were renters or somehow trespassers.

The nicer houses are across the road, on the high ground.

What's with the delta force for a fake ID bust? I guess they spent the money on these toys, they can't NOT use them. Sheesh...

What the &*@#? For fake ID's you get swat teams and assault rifles keeping people from looking?? Homeland security??? Postal inspection Service? Do you feel safer? I don't!! Wonder where all the money went? Look at your local police force, it looks like the staff of Blackwater!!! What a jokE! What's next?

I don't see what the problem is. Americans have been asking for more government for a couple of generations. This is just a small example of the future government services we have to look forward to in the coming few years.

Welcome to the future,folks.Heavily militarized arresting officers.On Rugby damn Road?

I know these people and have been in the house several times. They were definitely not trespassing, however, they said they owned the home which is not the case. Anybody who knows this couple at all knew something was fishy about them which is why they did not maintain froendships with others in the Cville community.

These cops must have been soooo jealous of the manhunt up in Boston a few weeks ago. Once they got their chance, they brought out the big guns. For a fake ID ring.

This is either a gross over-deployment of force and personel, or something more serious is happening.

I think it's the former, Margot. Remember when the police turned out in full body armor for the women protesting the transvaginal ultrasound bill in the state assembly?

"I don't see what the problem is. Americans have been asking for more government for a couple of generations. This is just a small example of the future government services we have to look forward to in the coming few years."

Exactly. This is obviously an outgrowth of the xenophobic calls to ramp up more and more government to patrol our borders and root out the illegals.

(Oh - maybe that's not what you meant?)

At least the cops didn't shoot the dog.

> This is obviously an outgrowth of the xenophobic calls to ramp up more and more government to patrol our borders and root out the illegals.

This SWAT raid, and others like it all over the country, are an outgrowth of the co-operative efforts of all the good "liberals" and "conservatives" that voted a series of scumbag politicians into office that have steadily increased the power of the State while subsidizing the Military-Industrial Complex for nigh unto these 50 years since Eisenhower took a minute and mentioned it all to us.

This SWAT raid, and the many other police actions to come, are the Government that we deserve. Everyone gets the government they deserve, especially when they put as much faith into government that Americans do.

Don't any of you remember that several of the 9-11 terrorists had Virginia licenses. Just 2 weeks ago a college student and his brother destroyed the lives of countless people in Boston. Does someone need to connect tbe dots for you, Soren and Meanwhile, to understand the reasoning behind such a response? Fake ids used to only be a path to a good drunk, no longer is that the worst case.....

> Does someone need to connect the dots for you

What about the dots that make a nice little picture of how government, police and politicians have a long and proven habit of rarely being truthful but people still take what is told to them at face value and believe them anyway?

There's a word for people that keep believing known and proven liars over and over again.

AR-15's use the .223 round which is anything but "high powered"...sounds good for print though, right?

I keep thinking there must be more to this than some fake id's for Uva frats. It is a highly unusual operation and instead of going on political tangents about big brother conspiracies let's wait and see.

After the recent publicly televised martial law patsy hunt in Boston they thought it was the perfect time to roll out the armored vehicles and SWAT teams nationwide. Incrementally conditioning you to accept martial law and men in black ski masks with machine guns swarming every time a fugitive is on the loose. At least they didn't drag people out of their houses at gunpoint here. Yet. Call it like you see it. I see Big brother tyranny on display and if I don't see resistance, I see acceptance. Roll it out for all to see, no resistance, normalization, and then it spreads and the boundaries can then be pushed a little further. They're gauging our reaction to this. Pressing on the nerve of power.

JHJ makes a good point. Fake ID's can be used for any number of serious criminal activities, like buying guns or materials to make explosives that can't be traced.What about credit card fraud?The list can go on and on.

One of the most disturbing aspects of this to me were the police officers wearing full face masks to hide their identity. That and the full array of tactical weapons, armored vehicles and temporary establishment of a military style perimeter to bring down the fake id crooks--Scooby Doo and the gang used to bring down these kinds of guys. I believe the show of force is a result of the heavy armament of our civilian police forces--they can quickly swing in now and declare martial law(or not declare it, just impose it, as in Boston) to take down criminal suspects--whether they are armed and dangerous or not. Expect more of this--local police will likely soon be outfitted with armored personnel carriers and full tactical gear for the entire force--again, look to Boston to see what kinds of equipment and training the outlying police departments had. Agree comp[letely with Someone--they are pushing these displays to increase tolerance for paramilitary activity in what are commonly civilian policing situations.

Police wearing masks should concern everyone.

http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/huge-raid-on-rugby-road-yields-f...

Hey, the landlord was taking the monthly rent in CASH. (Heard it was just shy of $4,000 each month). And the renter told the landlord he had a big safe in the house. H-E-L-L-O. Didn't any of that sound suspicious? Though I would would have thought drug ring, not fake ID ring.

BTW, did the landlord show the cash rent received on his tax return? Just a thought for the feds to pursue.

The feds are just ticked because the administration wasn't getting its cut and it wasn't assigned a codename like "Young and Curious".

Complaining about fake id's while our borders are open, drivers licenses more easily obtained by illegals than by citizens, and fake social security numbers for everyone?

Wag the dog much?

Man, I sleep so much better knowing we have police who can deploy the same force used to exterminate Bin Laden, for hardened criminals like these. Sheesh, they were enabling 19 years to buy beer....

While I agree it appears to be an aggressive response - I think homeland security was involved because of the prospect of fake IDs being useful not just for college kids, but also possibly for criminals or foreigners, b) they knew multiple people were involved, and after Boston we've seen how much trouble two young people can cause, and c) it turns out there were assault weapons in the house. If your job was to go in and get people in that type of situation I think you'd want to have overwhelming force available as well - just out of an abundance of caution.

Martin and Jhj you guys need to grow a nut sack Beg for protection from the callous tit of the military industrial complex. We are fools and scaredy cats. So are the ding dongs in their Rambo outfits.

The only thing that officer lacks in his battle gear is a bayonet. You know, just in case the kids resorted in hand to hand resistance or had dug-in and fortified their positions.

Joe, 31 year olds are "kids" to you?

Minor point but AR-15's, with their little .223 round are referred to as "high powered" because the bullet leaves the gun at a much higher speed than a big .45 round from a handgun, as an example. A .223 round from an AR-15 will penetrate things that a handgun round will not, hence the accurate "high powered" description.

everyone complaining about the show of force, but inside they find $200k, a cache of weapons including assault rifles. there could have been a shootout, they could have run into the neighborhood and held a family hostage. this type of show of force is warranted these days. if they showed up with just a few officers and things went awry, you're the same people that would condemn the authorities for not taking the situation more seriously. quit whining about everything you 'think' is wrong. who are all of you to judge what trained authorities deem is the proper deployment of officers and vehicles. shame on all of you.

I wouldn't discount what an AR-15 can do. It's not a BB gun. It's what Adam Lanza used at Newtown. I'm not sure why everyone is so upset that these lowlife adult leaches-on-society got what was coming to them. It's not like this was two frat boys in their basement using talcum powder and a razor to scratch up a couple fake IDs for their friends. It was a professional criminal operation, with an awful lot of money at stake apparently, and when you have criminals + guns + lots of money at stake, I think it's totally warranted for police to proceed cautiously. And no one got shot. Not even the dog. Seems like a success to me.

Shempdaddy, where do you get this idea that the "police officers [were] wearing full face masks to hide their identity"? In the pictures I've seen, you can see their faces under what appears to be standard SWAT team headgear.

> inside they find $200k

The bigger crooks of this world that steal much, much more on a daily basis (banks, etc) or kill innocents on a regular basis (Obama, Bush, etc) never see this kind of display of force as a result of their crimes.

Pardon me if I don't get a hard-on for the DHS cops in ski masks busting some small-time hoods while they let the worst criminals in history run scott free.

In these situation you pray for the best, prepare for the worst. You never know what is on the other side of that door.

Attention, sleeping Hooville: This is an overblown Federal raid designed to let the Commonwealth of Virginia know who actually owns central Virginia. It's not the Commonwealth of Virginia.

You may now return to your slumber.

> You never know what is on the other side of that door.

Agreed, based on many stories of police raids in the US that result in dead, injured and emotionally scarred kids.

AGREED, But how often does criminal activity lead to dead, injured and emotionally scared kids. If we as a nation want to protect our rights to own military grade weapons then you have to expect for law enforcement to be prepared to encounter that type of weaponry. Just one look at the NRA meeting in Houston can give you an idea of what is available to the US citizen today.

Wonder what the comments would be like if these three were of Middle Eastern decent?

I hope we will soon learn who these individuals were.
With that kind of firepower in the house we are fortunate no one was hurt .

Austro, you hit the nail on the head. Is the name Austro related to an old softball team you used to run?

> Wonder what the comments would be like if these three were of Middle Eastern decent?

Is that like being of "Middle West" descent or maybe "West Coast" descent? "Middle Eastern" descent could be Arab, Jewish, Turkish, Caucasian, etc. You should open that worldview a little bit and stop letting it be informed by 25 year-old "terrorism experts" on CNN and Fox.

The fact is, the Feds used an awesome show of force to bust three sketchy white kids that had no history of violence.

The term "high power" is an inaccurate description for the .223 / 5.56 round. Just because a given bullet has a higher FPS rating than another, does not make it a "high powered" round. Calibers like .308 or .50 could be accurately described as being "high powered". In this case, it's just another buzz term used by the media to elicit an emotional response from those who are less educated on firearms; kind of like "assault weapons" (which of course, are functionally no different than hunting rifles that accept external magazines).

gotta love the gun guys who get so technical. who the heck cares about high power, assault definitions, etc. they had weapons while committing felonies. you people think because they're 31 year old white 'kids' living on Rugby Rd that they're not capable of despicable violence? what if these kids sent out dozens of fake id's to foreign 'students' who use them to stay in the country illegally and do things like the boston bombings. show some common sense people, and quit politicizing every single event in the country.

bottom line: criminal activity on a federal level led authorities to RIGHTLY bring the hammer down on felonious activity, finding large amounts of cash, weapons, and thank goodness all of this was done with no one injured. who cares about the spectable. the point is what happened yesterday was a job well done. the accused were apprehended without violence, and the authorities, and ALL OF THEIR NEIGHBORS, were spared any injury.

> the point is what happened yesterday was a job well done.

From the point of view of a group of people that are paid by publicly funded agencies, sure.

From the perspective of this taxpayer, it looks like a bunch of Federal employees that have too much time on their hands.

Dem young sketchy white kids is da ones dat sneak up on ya Ponders

Dispropor- I'm sorry your friends got scooped.

Disgusted- My name is a tribute to the name of an old family dog.

> I'm sorry your friends got scooped.

I'm sorry your pro-authority argument got trumped.

QUIT CALLING THEM KIDS. Yes, I am yelling. Bill Gates was a billionaire by that age. You want to call the Boston bombers kids, okay with me; they are 18 and 19, legal adults. But these three are all at least 31 (some reports say Jones is 32). I agree completely that if they were not white, everyone would be congratulating the feds for their fine efforts. (As for "Middle Eastern" being too general, I promise you that at least the preliminary reaction to the arrest of anyone from anywhere at all in the Middle East would be quite different from, "Oh, those crazy kids!" Was this too much firepower? If I lived in that neighborhood, I would be glad I was well protected from possible gunplay I live in this town, and I am glad they came prepared. There was an AR-15 in the house--Adam Lanza's weapon of choice for killing 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary (yes, I confirmed this fact before posting here). Want to argue that it's "only" a semi-automatic? Fine. Call those children's parents and make that argument with them. Arrests "without incident" are commendable. And let's be thankful that the man who fled the house did not take that AR-15 or any other guns with him to Barracks Road that day.

Is the house going to be seized ?

1) The elderly, disabled and those with very small children need to be taken care of as best we can.
2) It is supposed to hurt to be poor. That is nature telling you to get off your butt and better yourself or to humble yourself to accept help from others if you cannot fend for yourself.
3) The amount of money available to help is pretty much finite which means that :
a) able bodied people who take welfare are by default STEALING from those who need it more
b) we should manage those resources as effectivly as possible to help as many as possible by having higher expectations of those receiving assistance to help themselves.

4) Too many people on public assistance are victims of their own poor choices be it husband wife, study habits drug or alcohol abuse , sex partner, birth control use (or lack therof) and plain old fashoned bad attitude and selfishness.
5) Society has an OBLIGATION to make sure that the people consuming all of this money are worthy of the assistance and force those who are capable of helping themselves do so.
6) All non disabled non elederly welfare recipients should be FORCED to get a GED and take continuing classes on home economics and gaining work skills.
7) Wages are SUPPOSED to be stagnant. why should a plumbers helper of 2013 have a better standard of living than a plumbers helper on 1973? (and by the way he does.. in 1973 there was no chance of food stamps, no obamaphone, very few rent subsidies, way less parks, way less public transportation, less job programs, no internet, and people died of diabetes on a regular basis. In 1973 minimum wage bought a room to crash and pizza and beer on fridays, just like today. Don't like it? Get a frickin skill and more up the ladder.
8) Most 80 year old men in nursing homes worked 60 hour weeks as a normal thing. If you can't make it on 40 hours a week get a second job. Share a house with another single mom and her kids, Be a maid on your day off for someone who didn't sit in the back of the class or marry a jeackoff.
9) Those who think we should raise minimum wage so that a person who studied in school shows up to work, has a positive attitude etc has a living wage need to answer one question... It we change the law to pay that person a living wage then how much do we pay the ex con droput rehabbed three times, fired five times trench digger? under you scenario he gets the 12 bucks too. (How is that fair? )
( the answer is easy, most people with the first guys skills do not work miminm wage for more than a couple of months and then they move up the ladder where they are, or move to better job because of the good reference). Ask successful people how long it took them to bust through the minimum wage barrier. Its not hard.
10) If wal mart raised it wages from 8 bucks to 12 bucks all that would happen is they would replace all of the 8 buck an hour people with better more qualified people who will work for 12. So the 8 buck an hour people would be laid off in droves and we are back to square one.
11) Beggars cannot be choosers.
12) Honey attracts flies.
13) "You no playa the game you no make a da rules"
14) The city should be required to list (with names redacted) financial and criminal profiles on every apartment that gets taxpayer money (example; Unit #1, 3 bdrm/2bath. 1 adult 3 children, income 5250.00, total rent charged: 2500.00, total rent subsidy 4500.00, other benefit income: : obamaphone (2) 900.00, food stamps 4800.00, healthcare benefits paid 14825.00, utility assistance 722.00, free school lunches 455.00, free bus pass (4) 400.00, free summer program (2) 600.00, Daycare subsidy 7650.00 , Job training assistance 350.00, Misc : (public defender (see crimnal records) 2655.00) CRIMINAL RECORDS: misdemeanor petty theft 2008, petty theft 2009, use of controlled dangeruos substance 2011, petty theft 2012 : Summary total benefits given (taxpayer outlays (2012) $37,857.00

NOTE: Numbers above do not include the enormous costs of administering all of these programs which involves not just dispersing funds but evaluating applications, writing regulations, auditing citys to make sure they are complying with the rules, studies to determine need, reports of succes of failure, fraud investigations of tenants, fraud investigation of employees, fraud investigation of contractors etc etc.

There is more than enough money to help those who cannot help themselves but it is being consumed by people plenty healthy enough to go downtown on a "workday" and protest.

sorry, wrong story.... (I am a little dizzy from starvation as my food stamps have not arrived)

My guess is the landlord/owner accepting $3500 per month in cash had to think something fishy was going on inside.

It is still just unbelievable to me how so many of you on this trail can be so incredibly naive and shortsighted! Soren, when you have something to contribute to the conversation, come back and say it. If all you, and these other conspiracy theorist complainers, want to do is whine about the topic de joure, go waste someone elses time. I don't think that 4000 fake ids in 3 years were sold to college kids wanting to hang out at the bar with their buddies. Amy L, Hoolarious, The Jackel, i'm glad someone sees the stupidity in the comments of Joe, Toni H and Carrboro Pete, I guess they wanted Barney Fife with his six shooter and one bullet in his pocket to go knock on the door and ask these nice young men to please stop doing bad things. And of course they would be the first ones to blame the cops if the situation went badly. Why us it that these crybaby's fail to remember that these cops and federal officials put their lives on the line EVERY DAY so that they can whine in safety.... maybe they should go live somewhere like Chicago and see what life can be like when there is almost no legal presence....
The facts are this: the authorities took out an operation that could have provided little Johnny a ticket to the bar stool, or it could have provided the next Tamerlan Tsarnaev with an id allowing him to go under the radar during his planning phase. Every one of us should be shaking the hands of those cops for doing what they did.

Here's an interesting aside to the tale. On Apr 22nd, the owner of the home-- Steven Jacques-- tweeted that he'd sold the house to Candy Crowley from CNN and/or her son Webster. (Webster Crowley attended UVA and is a neurosurgeon.) Jacques mentioned "so I'll be out by July 1st," which gave the impression he was living there.
https://twitter.com/jacqueshomesinc/status/326463840298627073

Lots of spelling mistakes in these posts, it makes me cringe. But anyways, the federal raid that happened yesterday is a very unusual operation and warrants more inquiries into what made Homeland Security order this kind of startling action.. Don't blame the officers, in every raid they are potentially up against private citizens "right to carry arms", deadly weapons. They are also trained to minimize loss of innocent life. Personally, The NRA has inserted a poisonous and completely bogus emotional argument into our culture; the idea that owning fire arms will keep you safe. It doesn't. It will cause casualties. Think about it, who do you think will own assault weapons? Sane people? The fact is that the majority of people is sound of mind and doesn't take 'right' in their own hands. On the contrary, they will rush to each other. Which doesn't discount the fact that the feds are allowing themselves incredible powers to monitor "safety'. The real question is: what kind of society do we deserve?

Lots of spelling mistakes in these posts, it makes me cringe. But anyways, the federal raid that happened yesterday is a very unusual operation and warrants more inquiries into what made Homeland Security order this kind of startling action.. Don't blame the officers, in every raid they are potentially up against private citizens "right to carry arms", deadly weapons. They are also trained to minimize loss of innocent life. Personally, The NRA has inserted a poisonous and completely bogus emotional argument into our culture; the idea that owning fire arms will keep you safe. It doesn't. It will cause casualties. Think about it, who do you think will own assault weapons? Sane people? The fact is that the majority of people is sound of mind and doesn't take 'right' in their own hands. On the contrary, they will rush to each other. Which doesn't discount the fact that the feds are allowing themselves incredible powers to monitor "safety'. The real question is: what kind of society do we want?

Margot, dont citizens need a apostraphe dere boo???

I'd seen her on Rugby Road getting out of that white Range Rover. Very eye-catching chick. Who plays her in the movie?

Margot, you are EXACTLY the kind of person the liberal media and anti-gun crowd is aiming at when they use boogeyman words like "assault", "high-powered", "automatic", etc. To really make you soil your panties they'll combine it as "military, high-powered automatic assault weapon". Get a clue and learn something about firearms before displaying your ignorance on the subject.

Of course Homeland Security was involved. How do you think potential terrorists (the ones that aren't US citizens) get id's to get into the country? You and I were not supposed to feel safer, the people they were arresting were supposed to feel caught. And I'm ok with that.

@Sabbath Lily

I think that Tweet probably refers to another property owned by the same/similar.

I would presume that the reason for the overwhelming force was that there were the sons and daughters of some very influential people many within bullet range if there were to be a shootout and a bloodbath there would be international news.

I am sad that it has come to this but at the end of the day it was probably the right call.

Also... if they had 200k in cash and 3500 in rent for overhead, range rovers and weapons the math alone would say this goes way beyond UVA students. Remenber the 200k is the excess after their overhead and lavish lifestyle. Plus who knows what they have stashed elswhere.

I'll buy the house for $200,000 from the Feds if they seize it

No, "the sons and daughters of some very influential people" have already transferred to William and Mary and Virginia Tech, following the lead of many middle class kids fed up with the Dragas circus.

Perhaps a reporter could have asked the SWAT team how the Morgan Harrington case is coming along since the "team" obviously has waaaay too much time on their hands.

Please cite some sources on that transfer thing George. You could also say something about what a SWAT team might have to do with the Harrington case. Otherwise I can't image what it would be.

Gee I never would have guessed the house was owned by a CIA asset, Sabbath Lily. I'll probably never guess that this whole thing was probably produced by Jerry Bruckheimer either

I think it's strange that none of the news outlets, print or broadcast, has dug up any more details on this story. I guess they don't find it interesting. I've heard that Allen had a military background and a few years back would go out of town a lot. But that may not be true, of course. Anybody heard anything?

It's called a "media blackout". Allen is military, living in Candy Crowley, CNN (read CIA) operative's house, give me a break. There's the official story and then there's the facts of the matter. Why would they tell you the dirty little details when that would attribute an entirely different moral to the story? Allen's probably an asset too and that's probably why he's "on the lam". The government was making the fake ID's for an excuse to crack down on those who use them, gotta get more people in the system. And if and when a terrorist gets a fake ID I garauntee you it was custom made for them the government who has CIA controlled Imams telling them what to do so they can have another false flag. That's why these ID's were so "sophisticated" And when the non criminals in the FBI get wise to it (as may have happened here) they burn a patsy or two, make a show of police state power, televise it, make it look like a bad guy got caught and then move it on to another town to start it all over. Yeah, some more details would sure be nice

Interesting perspective. FYI they nabbed Allen in front of Harris Teeter a day after the raid, so no more "on the lam." He was parked in front of Banana Republic, so I imagine that country's government had something to do with all this.

Someone in the comments above linked to a photo profile of Kelly McPhee via Sarah Cramer Shields' website/blog. Cramer Photo has since 404'ed the link . . . I wonder why it's reasonable to take down a webpage like that? Out of privacy/respect for the alleged criminal? Love to know this group's thoughts.

@ Someone: Be on the lookout for the black helicopters.

He was on the lamb in front of HarrisTetter? This whole thing was a Monty Python skit, no? .

What happens to the local precious darlings that USED the fake IDs? No takedowns of the local college bars with SWAT teams and tanks?

Yes. See? That's what I want to know more about. Where was he for the 18 hours he was on the lam? Why did he go to Barracks Road Shopping Center the next afternoon? Surely people around CVille saw him during that time if he stuck around rather than driving as far away as he could as fast as he could. But I haven't read any coverage in which witnesses from throughout that day are interviewed. Even the various Barracks Road merchants might have seen him if he were actually shopping there. Which would be just ca-razy.

I think Sarah Cramer/Cramer Photos probably didn't want the media to purloin her b&w portraits of McPhee--the media would not have given her a photo credit. Remember she owns those images even though they appear on the Web. I wouldn't want to go unattributed if I were the photographer. Her website is still up, fyi, but the pics are no longer part of her portfolio.

Someone, SMH...paranoid much.