The Associated Press reports that the man who pleaded guilty to stealing the identity of Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison.
A Pittsburgh man has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison for what a prosecutor called an elaborate scheme to steal Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's identity and spend $658 using a credit card in Allen's name last year. Brandon Lee Price, 30, should his term in a halfway house downtown, the judge recommended, but federal prison officials are not bound by that suggestion.
According to the FBI, Price called Citibank in January 2012 pretending to be Allen and changed the address on one of Allen's accounts from Seattle to Pittsburgh. He called back three days later to say he had lost his debit card and asked for a new one to be sent to him.
The card sent to the Pittsburgh address, where investigators said Price lived with his parents, was used to attempt a $15,000 Western Union transaction and make a $658.81 payment on a loan. The wire transfer failed and no purchases went through before the fraud was detected by the bank, which alerted law enforcement officials.
Clare O'Connor of Forbes.com adds these details.
Price managed to access multiple bank accounts in Allen's portfolio, including one at Bank of New York Mellon containing $97 million, according to reports from the courtroom. The East Liberty, Pa. man, who was AWOL from the army and lived with his parents, managed to convince clerks at several banks that he was the 60-year-old Seattle billionaire.
Using Allen's personal details in multiple phone conversations, he conned Citibank into sending him a debit card in the Microsoft co-founder's name. Price used the card to pay off a $658.81 loan, then tried and failed to use it to for $278.18 worth of video games and accessories at a GameStop and $1 worth of candy at a Family Dollar Store, among other attempted transactions. When he tried to transfer $15,000 from the billionaire's account via Western Union, alarm bells went off at Citibank. The FBI became involved, arresting Price in 2012.
Paul Allen's office had no comment on Tuesday's sentencing.
Back in March 2012, a Pennsylvania man was accused of stealing Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen's identity.
An AWOL soldier's simple scheme to defraud one of the richest men in the world has landed him in federal custody, according to a criminal complaint. In the complaint unsealed Monday, federal investigators allege Brandon Lee Price changed the address on a bank account held by billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, then had a debit card sent to his Pittsburgh home so he could use it for payments on a delinquent Armed Forces Bank account and personal expenses.
FBI investigators said last year Price managed to change the address on Allen's bank account to an address in Pittsburgh, where he lived with his mother. He then called Citibank a few days later and said he lost his debit card, investigators said. The bank mailed him a replacement card for Allen's account.
The FBI said Price went to a video game store and spent $278.18 and later rang up a second transaction for just a buck at a dollar store.That was just the appetizer, though. The FBI said Price then tried to pay off part of his personal loans through Armed Forces Bank and make a $15,000 wire transfer.
In a statement after Price's 2012 arrest, a spokesman for Allen said "while the financial loss here was small, I'm sure the feeling of being a victim of identity theft is unsettling no matter how much money you've lost."
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter