Local Technology Consultant Indicted On 29 Counts Of Fraud And Identity Theft
Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the return of an indictment charging Michael Albert Morton (37), formerly of Tampa, now of Clearwater, with twenty-nine counts of bank and wire fraud, access device (credit card) fraud, use of false names in connection with post office boxes, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, per count, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment for bank fraud; up to 20 years imprisonment for wire fraud; a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for access device fraud; up to 5 years in prison for the use of false names with the U.S. Postal Service; and up to 2 years imprisonment for aggravated identity theft.
Morton was previously arrested on these charges by a federal complaint on April 13, 2012. He is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., before Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli.
According to the indictment, Morton, a local information technology (IT) consultant, applied online for credit cards, using different stolen identities of victims from across the country. In some cases, the online applications were made from locations where Morton was employed and contracted as an IT consultant or from anonymous Internet protocol (IP) addresses. Morton also used private post office box locations (local P.O. addresses) so that mail relating to the fraudulent merchant credit card accounts of the victims would be sent directly to him, at those locations.
The indictment also charges Morton with bank fraud in connection with purchasing property and services from merchants on his own credit cards and then fraudulently disputing those charges. One of the disputed charges was a Rolex watch priced at over $10,000. The losses to the banks and credit card companies are in excess of $100,000.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by United States Postal Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.