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Man Gets 16 Years In Prison For Stealing Identities At Connecticut Theaters

A Philadelphia man was sentenced to 16 years in prison for committing identity theft by stealing credit cards from female movie goers in Connecticut.
A Philadelphia man was sentenced to 16 years in prison for committing identity theft by stealing credit cards from female movie goers in Connecticut. Photo Credit: Courtesy ctd.uscourts.gov

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- A Philadelphia man who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars by stealing credit card information and identities of moviegoers, including at theaters in Fairfield and Greenwich, will serve 16 years in federal prison, a statement from Acting U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Deirdre Daly.

Anthony Johnson, 50, engaged in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme at several movie theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield and Colchester, the statement said. He often crawled on the floor between seats to steal out of victims' purses, the statement said.

In one incident Dec. 27, 2008, Johnson and his accomplice Lashirelle Bryant entered a movie theater in Greenwich and sat directly behind their intended victim, the statement said. 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 he used equipment to produce a driver’s license in the victim’s name but with her photograph. Johnson and Bryant then used the stolen credit cards to make more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases, including gift cards, clothing, electronics, designer sunglasses and a $10,000 Rolex watch.

Johnson also traveled to Connecticut on at least three occasions between April and August 2010 and stole credit cards from female patrons at theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield and Colchester with Jamie McGowan, his female accomplice on these trips. At his direction, she used the stolen credit cards and fraudulent identification to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and retail items and make more than $5,000 in cash advances at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

McGowan testified at trial that she participated in the credit card theft scheme for more than a year. During that time, a “good weekend” yielded between $50,000 and $70,000 and a “bad weekend” yielded between $20,000 and $30,000, she said. McGowan stated that most weekends were “good weekends.”

Testimony in the case also revealed that Johnson committed similar fraudulent acts in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Nevada and Hawaii.

On Oct. 22, 2012, a jury found Johnson guilty of multiple counts of unauthorized use of an access device and aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford. He will also serve three years of supervised release.

He has an extensive criminal history dating to his first arrest at the age of 12. Johnson began this credit card fraud and identity theft scheme in July 2008, shortly after completing a 71-month federal sentence for jewelry theft.

He has been in custody since October 2010 after he was arrested in Indiana on a violation of supervised release.

On June 22, 2012, Bryant and McGowan each pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of an access device and one count of aggravated identity theft. On Nov. 29, 2012, McGowan was sentenced to 18 months in prison.  Bryant awaits sentencing.

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