News and Press Releases

Man Even Used Phone Tapping Device to Activate Stolen Credit Card from Residential Phone

April 6, 2007

SCOTT WILLIAM McCOMB, 41, of Lynnwood, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 65 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Social Security Number Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. McCOMB traveled across the United States using cars and buying equipment he had purchased using other people’s identities and credit. At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed 41 months for the Social Security Number Fraud and a consecutive 24 month sentence for Aggravated Identity Theft as required by law.

According to documents filed in the case, McCOMB’s crimes first came to the attention of law enforcement when two different victims reported unauthorized use of their credit cards and that someone had been forging checks on their bank accounts. In one instance, the victim feared the thief had broken into his home, because the stolen credit card could only be activated by placing a call from the home phone number. Later in the investigation police recovered a special piece of equipment in McCOMB’s belongings that allowed him to tap into a residential phone line from outside the home.

The charges on the victim’s credit cards led to a Seattle hotel room in late February 2006. Inside police discovered computer equipment with numerous templates for fake identification documents. Ten of the fake documents had pictures of McCOMB with the names of other victims. In late March 2006, McCOMB was arrested after he tried to use a victim credit account to purchase high tech equipment in Bellevue. McCOMB and two associates were arrested with a stolen rental car filled with computer equipment used for making fake identifications. Also in the car was the tool used for tapping into a residential phone line.

In September 2006, as charges were pending, McCOMB was arrested in Iron Mountain, Michigan, driving a luxury SUV that had been ‘purchased’ from a Seattle car dealership using a victim’s identity and credit. The SUV was towing a trailer filled with power tools. The trailer and all the equipment had been purchased using a victim’s credit. Officers also recovered numerous driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, credit cards, personal checks and payroll checks in other people’s names. In all the investigation revealed McCOMB had opened approximately 25 credit card accounts in the names of 18 different victims and committed $142,000 in fraud. In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa wrote to the court, “[h]is crimes have affected many individual victims by damaging their credit and injuring their sense of security in their personal information. The effects of Mr. McComb’s actions will undoubtedly have ongoing consequences for many innocent victims of his crimes.” Judge Coughenour commented that the impact on victims was the most serious factor in these crimes and that often “not a whole lot of thought is given to the impact on victims.”

McCOMB was indicted on October 4, 2006 and pleaded guilty on December 13, 2006.

The case was investigated by the Sammamish Police Department, the Iron Mountain Michigan Police Department, the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Working Group on Identity Theft.

For additional information please contact Norman Barbosa at (206) 553-7970 or Public Affairs Officer Emily Langlie, at (206) 553-4110.

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