IDENTITY THIEF SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS IN PRISON UNDER NEW FEDERAL STATUTE
Man applied for credit in the names of local companies; charged purchases of more than $100,000
SHANE MICHAEL RENECKER, 34, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to two consecutive 24 month terms for two counts of Aggravated Identity Theft. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly told him, “I.D. theft is a very serious crime and it is rampant in our society today, unfortunately.”
RENECKER was indicted in January 2006, following an investigation by the Washington State Patrol. According to records filed in the case, RENECKER opened numerous business credit accounts at “big box” retailers across western Washington. RENECKER opened the credit accounts in the names of nine real businesses, but submitted phoney tax identification numbers, telephone numbers and contact names. RENECKER ran up more than $119,000 in charges at stores such as Staples, Best Buy, Comp USA and Lowes. RENECKER used his own name and ID as the person authorized to use the credit account. With the instant store credit RENECKER purchased computer equipment, camera equipment, a 50" television set, a DVD recorder and various home improvement items. Over 11 months RENECKER made at least 22 purchases ranging from $48 to $8,500. One business started receiving the credit card bills and alerted the Washington State Patrol who tracked RENECKER down using the real identification information he had provided to the stores. RENECKER pleaded guilty February 24, 2006.
At sentencing Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence Lincoln described the crime of Identity Theft as an “epidemic” in this country and noted that the Federal Trade Commission had determined that Washington State is seventh in the nation for reports of ID theft. “Deterrence in the form of a serious sentence is important,” Lincoln told the court.
The Aggravated Identity Theft statute became law in July 2004. It mandates an additional 24 month sentence be added consecutively to any underlying conviction. In this case under the terms of the plea agreement, the two 24 month terms for Aggravated Identity Theft will run consecutively. The amount of restitution RENECKER owes will be determined at a later hearing.
The case was investigated by the Washington State Patrol and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence Lincoln who heads up the U.S. Attorney’s working group on identity theft.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.