Who knew churning out McLovin licenses for desperate college kids was a goldmine? For Brandon Albanito, a 25-year-old in Cape Coral, the fake ID biz was a million-dollar enterprise, with a 2010 Lexus, a Bentley and a 2003 Ferrari, a nearly $400,000 house and mountains of drugs as the side benefits. At least it was, until the feds caught up with him.
Yesterday, Albanito was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in the federal pen over the fraudulent license racket.
Based out of his Cape Coral digs, Albanito mailed out thousands of fake Wisconsin drivers licenses to customers who sent him $150 bucks and a headshot.
With more than a million bucks of cash coming in return, Albanito lived large on the Gulf Coast, the feds say.
He snatched up the luxury cars, according to his federal indictment, and then spent whatever was left on drugs.
When federal agents later raided his home, they found almost $870,000 in cash, almost half a pound of marijuana, more than half a pound of mushrooms, 70 grams of meth, 16 grams of coke and 4,000 empty pill bottles, the Naples Daily News reports.
Albanito's empire crumbled in the most predictable way possible -- with college kids getting busted with his wares.
In August 2008, an underage Penn State student got caught with one of Albanito's fake IDs and spilled the beans about where they'd bought it. Two years later, a box of his licenses was intercepted in Missouri.
Albanito agreed to plea guilty back in May and to forfeit the proceeds of his enterprise. College kids everywhere, meanwhile, are scrambling for their next booze hookup.
Tim Elfrink is an award-winning investigative reporter, the managing editor of the Miami New Times and the co-author of "Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era." Since 2008, he's written in-depth pieces on police corruption, fatal shootings and social justice issues across South Florida. He's won the George Polk Award and has been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.