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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-081

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

IDENTITY THIEF WITH INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM CREDIT BUREAU PLEADS GUILTY


Los Angeles, CA - The third member of an identity theft ring that used personal information fraudulently obtained from Experian and other companies to apply for fraudulent loans pleaded guilty this morning to federal identity theft charges.

Eric Bronche Thomas, 42, of Gardena, appeared before United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder and pleaded guilty to three felony counts computer intrusion, use of a false identity document and misuse of a social security number.

Two other members of the identity theft ring Calvin Son Guidry, 32, of Inglewood, and John Wayne Avery, 52, of Los Angeles pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to commit identity theft. Guidry additionally pleaded guilty to the use of a false identity document.

When entering their guilty pleas, Thomas, Guidry, and Avery admitted working together to obtain personal data including names, dates of birth and social security numbers and to use that data to fraudulently apply for loans. Thomas admitted to establishing a real estate company and using that company to obtain access to Experian credit reports, from which he harvested personal information from unsuspecting victims. With the personal information, Thomas and Guidry applied for loans from various lending institutions and created counterfeit identity documents. Avery and other members of the ring would then use the identification documents to claim the loan checks.

In addition to the loan fraud scheme,Thomas also admitted to applying for a Best Buy credit card using a false social security number after the loan fraud case had been filed. Thomas has agreed to forfeit several residences that he had purchased using stolen identities.

The government estimates that the actual loss associated with the identity fraud tied to Thomas, Guidry and Avery is more than $300,000. At least 30 people were victimized.

Sentencing for Thomas is set for August 28, at which time he faces a maximum possible sentence of 35 years in federal prison. Guidry is scheduled to be sentenced on October 16 and faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Avery is scheduled to be sentenced on November 27 and faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Release No. 06-081

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