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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


AUGUST 17, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


COLUMBIA MAN SENTENCED FOR FRAUD, IDENTITY THEFT


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Columbia, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for wire fraud and identity theft related to his scheme to fraudulently obtain credit cards using the names of individuals reported in newspaper obituaries.


             Daniel Christian Sewell, 30, of Columbia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey this afternoon to five years and five months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Sewell to pay restitution to the victims of his crime.


             On April 12, 2007, Sewell pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft. Sewell admitted that he spent more than $30,000 using fraudulent credit cards. Sewell searched newspapers and Internet sites for obituaries of individuals in Boone County, Mo. He then called funeral homes, posing as a representative of a life insurance company, and requested such information as birth dates, addresses, and Social Security numbers. He also found identity information by searching the Internet and various publications.


             Sewell applied on-line for credit cards using the names of the deceased individuals. Although he used correct identity information in those applications, he listed his own address or his girlfriend’s address in order to receive the mailed credit cards and to avoid detection by the family of the deceased. When Sewell activated the cards, he also requested a PIN so that he could make cash withdrawals using the cards.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Gonzalez. It was investigated by the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Wells Fargo Investigative Unit, G.E. Money Bank and Washington Mutual.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html