Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Man gets prison for stealing identity of person with Down syndrome

From The Capital Times in Wisconsin:

A Madison man who posed as a BBC reporter in a scheme to obtain credit cards in the name of a young man with Down syndrome was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to four years and six months in prison and ordered to repay $25,763 to four victimized banks.

District Judge Barbara Crabb called J. Richard Outhier, 37, a "pretty scary individual."

"You prey on vulnerable persons to finance a lifestyle by illegitimate means," Crabb said to Outhier.

Outhier previously admitted to using an "identity broker" in 2006 to get the name of a Boston woman active in Down syndrome awareness then, under the guise of interviewing her for a news story, verified her son's birth date and Social Security number, which he had obtained from the broker.

Using the son's personal information and duplicate copies of his birth certificate, Outhier obtained a Social Security number and then credit cards from U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. Outhier used the man's identity to obtain a bank loan to purchase a 1999 Saab in January 2007, said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Reinhard.

The Boston woman only learned of Outhier's scam when she received an overdue bill from a credit card company and a benefits statement from Claddagh's Irish Pub in Middleton, where Outhier had worked, said Reinhard.

Outhier apologized to the court and his victims and asked Crabb to recommend that he serve his sentence as close to Madison as possible.

Crabb imposed a sentence near the top of the applicable guideline range on three counts of credit and bank fraud telling Outhier that he seems to "take pride and satisfaction in your ability to con people. Anyone who comes in contact with you should be on guard."