Contractor Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft
NEW HAVEN, Conn.
The owner of an alarm company has pled guilty to using the personal information of a customer to obtain credit cards. Kenneth Moore, owner of Security Plus Associates in North Haven, Conn., faces up to 15 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine after admitting to a count of identification fraud. He will be sentenced May 17.
After his guilty plea in the U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., on Feb. 27, Moore admitted under oath in court that after installing a customer’s security system in 2000, he used the information they provided – including address, date of birth and social security number – to apply for and receive credit cards in the name of that customer. He amassed $104,500 in charges on the cards for such purchases as two 1998 Chevrolet S-10 pickup trucks, a 1994 Mercedes-Benz and a fishing boat valued at $41,420.
“Its ironic it happened to be a home security guy of all people, but the kind of information he obtained could have been obtained by any other business and doesn’t reflect on the security business. It could have been the milkman,” says Kevin J. O’Connor, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. “For someone to misappropriate that information is not only illegal but inappropriate. It’s a violation of your security.”
Moore, 44, had been serving as an independent contractor installing systems for Protection One customers in Connecticut. Protection One had no knowledge of the fraud perpetuated by Moore and O’Connor says Protection One is also a victim of Moore’s actions. “The security company is as much a victim as the guy whose identity was taken,” says O’Connor, who has prosecuted many instances of identity theft but doesn’t recall another one involving an alarm company.
Moore opened up credit card accounts using the customer’s name and social security number, then would change the address to either that of his home or his business. He amassed unpaid charges of $54,865 on two US Bank cards and $15,127 on a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store card, as well as charges on Shell Oil and Macy’s Department Stores cards.
O’Connor, who was appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft in January to serve on his Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys, says the size of the charges amassed by Moore makes him stand out from other ID theft cases. “We get quite a few identity theft cases, but most run up a few charges,” O’Connor says. “It’s unparalleled to see high charges like this.”
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