Credit Repair Man for the Stars Indicted for Allegedly Defrauding Them of More Than $1 Million
SAN DIEGO, CA—The alleged mastermind behind a credit repair scam was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Hillman on an indictment unsealed today in federal court.
Keith Lawrence Middlebrook, 46, is charged with 15 counts of mail fraud, four counts of use of fraudulent government seals, bankruptcy fraud, and fifteen counts of aggravated identity theft. As part of the fraudulent scheme, Middlebrook allegedly sought out clients, including professional athletes and celebrities, and promised to raise his clients’ credit scores by working with credit reporting agencies.
In exchange for this service, Middlebrook charged his clients thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars, receiving payment before rendering services, in violation of The Credit Repair Organizations Act, the indictment said. Middlebrook knew he could not legitimately raise his clients’ credit scores. In making his false promises, Middlebrook failed to inform his clients that he was using illegal means, including submitting fraudulent documents which were purported to be from legitimate agencies, such as U.S. Bankruptcy Court, to support erroneous challenges to his clients’ valid debts, according to the indictment. As part of the scheme, Middlebrook created, and directed others to create, documents purporting to be from businesses, financial institutions, government agencies, and creditors.
According to the indictment, Middlebrook claimed that the debt owed by his clients should be deleted from the clients’ credit history. The documents included letterhead, government seals and signatures of officials which were not authorized by the creditors. Middlebrook allegedly knew that these letters were fraudulent, not authorized, and invalid.
Judge Hillman set bond at $175,000. Middlebrook was ordered to make his next appearance in federal court on October 29, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo.
DEFENDANT Case Number 14cr2950
Keith Lawrence Middlebrook Age: 46 Los Angeles, California
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Mail Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1341 Use of Fraudulent Government Seal, 18 U.S.C. § 1017 Bankruptcy Fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 157 Aggravated Identity Theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1)
Federal Bureau of Investigation
*An indictment or complaint itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.