United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Thomas Povondra, 54, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced today in Omaha by Senior United States District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon to 42 months’ imprisonment for Sale of a Card Purporting to be a Social Security Card and Aggravated Identity Theft. There is no parole in the federal system. After his release, Povondra will serve a three-year term of supervised release.
From on or about October 11, 2019, to December 17, 2019, Povondra and co-defendant, Sheila Likness, engaged in a scheme to provide a police officer working in an undercover capacity with personal identification documents with the name and personal identifying information that had been obtained off the dark web.
On October 11, 2019, Povondra drove Likness to meet with the undercover officer at a Starbucks location. During that October 11, 2019 meeting, Likness informed the undercover officer that she could and would sell him identification documents such as a fake driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate, passport and secondary forms of identification such as a YMCA card for $4,000. Likness stated that she obtains the identification information off of the dark web and that it would be able to pass a check from law enforcement if the undercover officer came into contact with law enforcement.
Likness met with the undercover officer on October 31, November 5, and November 11, 2019. During these meetings, while engaging in narcotics activity, Likness would discuss the progress on the identification documents that were promised. At the November 5, 2019 meeting, Likness received $1,750 as a down payment for the documents. On November 21, 2019, Likness sent the undercover officer a picture message of passport in the name of Victim 1 with Victim 1’s date of birth.
On December 3, 2019, Povondra met with the undercover officer in the area of 153rd and Q Streets in Omaha. Povondra gave the undercover officer a blue plastic folder, which had documents purporting to be a Social Security Card, a birth certificate, a high school diploma, and high school transcripts in the name of Victim 1 with Victim 1’s personal identifying information such as date of birth and Social Security Number. Povondra discussed the progress of the passport with the undercover officer and the status of its production. Povondra also received an additional $100 from the undercover officer for the delivery of the documents.
On December 17, 2019, a search warrant was executed at the residence shared by Likness and Povondra in Omaha. Numerous computers, a credit card scanner, blank ID and credit cards, laminate material, blank checks, and papers with the identifying information of other individuals were located. Following the December 17 search warrant, Povondra provided a laptop belonging to Likness to a third-party that had not been found by law enforcement during the search warrant. Povondra told the third-party to place the contents of the laptop on the external hard drive and then destroy the laptop.
Likness’s case is still pending and is set for trial on December 8, 2020. The fact that Likness has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Omaha Police Department, the Social Security Administration-Office of the Inspector General, and the United States Department of State.