Jury Finds Pennsylvania Man Guilty of Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Offenses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 22, 2012|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found Anthony Johnson, 49, of Philadelphia, guilty of credit card fraud and identity theft offenses stemming from tens of thousands of dollars in purchases he made on credit cards he stole from women in Connecticut movie theaters. The trial before U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant began on October 16 and the jury returned its verdict today after deliberating for approximately two hours.
According to the evidence presented during the trial and statements made in court during previous court proceedings, Johnson and others engaged in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme at movie theaters in Connecticut. As part of the scheme, Johnson targeted movies that he believed were geared toward women. Johnson and female accomplices would then enter a theater and sit behind an intended victim. Johnson then crawled on the floor and removed credit cards from a purse that a victim had placed on the floor during the movie.
On December 27, 2008, Johnson and Lashirelle Bryant traveled from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and entered a movie theater in Greenwich. While the movie was playing, Johnson crawled on the floor and stole three credit cards from a female victim’s purse. Johnson and Bryant then left the theater, and Johnson used equipment to produce a driver’s license in the victim’s name but with Bryant’s photograph. Johnson and Bryant (at Johnson’s direction) used the stolen credit cards to make more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases. The purchases included gift cards, clothing, electronics, designer sunglasses, and a $10,000 Rolex watch.
Johnson also traveled to Connecticut on three occasions between April and August 2010 and stole credit cards from female patrons at theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield, and Colchester. Johnson produced false driver’s licenses in each victim’s name but with a photograph of Jamie McGowan, his female accomplice on these trips. McGowan, at Johnson’s direction, used the stolen credit cards and fraudulent identification to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and retail items and also to make more than $5,000 in cash advances at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Johnson was found guilty of seven counts of unauthorized use of an access device, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count. Johnson also was found guilty of two counts of aggravated identity theft, a charge that carries a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment, which must be imposed to run consecutively to the sentence imposed for unauthorized use of an access device.
Judge Vanessa L. Bryant has scheduled sentencing for January 14, 2013.
Johnson has been detained since his arrest on November 16, 2011.
On June 22, 2012, Lashirelle Bryant and Jamie McGowan each pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of an access device and one count of aggravated identity theft. They await sentencing.
This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Greenwich, Fairfield, and Waterford Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rahul Kale and Paul H. McConnell.