News and Press Releases

Defendant Committed Burglaries to Obtain Personal Info for ID Theft and Fraud

July 18, 2008

RODNEY DWIGHT GODWIN, 40, of Everett, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 44 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. When time GODWIN served in state custody on related charges are added in, he will end up serving a total of 51 months for his crimes.

GODWIN has a lengthy history of burglary, fraud and identity theft crimes. GODWIN was charged federally using the Aggravated Identity theft statute in hopes that a longer period of incarceration, and close federal supervision following prison, would deter his return to criminal activity. As part of his sentence U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour ordered that GODWIN undergo intensive drug treatment.

According to records filed in the case, GODWIN used a variety of tactics to obtain personally identifying information about other people so that he could create false identity documents. Using these documents he attempted to steal money from victim bank accounts, cash phony checks, and use other people’s credit cards to enrich himself. Specifically, GODWIN stole personal information from the home of one victim when he was working there as a laborer. GODWIN prowled cars and stole mail to get additional information. In one instance he was involved in the burglary of an Edmonds real estate company to get personal information from records there. Finally, at the time of his arrest GODWIN had equipment used to make false identification documents, and a card “skimmer” that allows a thief to secretly get account and pin information from credit and debit cards. GODWIN pleaded guilty on July 11, 2007.

In asking for a significant sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi wrote to the court, “Mr. Godwin has spent the last five years of his life engaging in an almost continuous pattern of criminal activity - broken only by those periods of time he has spent in custody on other charges. Mr. Godwin’s history shows that he has not been deterred in the past by incarceration or other criminal penalties. There is every reason to believe that he will return to this pattern after his release on these charges, which calls for a lengthy period of incarceration, to be followed by close supervision.”

The Aggravated Identity Theft statute passed by congress in 2004, requires a 24 month term consecutive to the prison time imposed on an underlying felony such as Bank Fraud. In this case, GODWIN was sentenced to 20 months for Bank Fraud, with the 24 months for Aggravated Identity Theft to follow.

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Everett Police Department and Lynnwood Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi as part of 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.

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