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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Movie Theater Credit Card Thief Sentenced To 16 Years In Federal Prison

Deirdre M. Daly, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ANTHONY JOHNSON, 50, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 192 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing credit cards and identities from women who were victimized in Connecticut movie theaters.  On October 22, 2012, a jury found JOHNSON guilty of multiple counts of unauthorized use of an access device and aggravated identity theft.

According to the evidence presented during his trial, JOHNSON, with the assistance of female accomplices engaged in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme at several movie theaters in Connecticut.  In one incident that occurred on December 27, 2008, JOHNSON and Lashirelle Bryant entered a movie theater in Greenwich and sat directly behind their intended victim.  While the movie was playing, JOHNSON crawled on the floor and stole three credit cards from a female victim’s purse.  JOHNSON and Bryant then left the theater and JOHNSON used equipment to produce a driver’s license in the victim’s name, but with Bryant’s photograph.  JOHNSON and Bryant then used the stolen credit cards to make more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases.  The purchases included gift cards, clothing, electronics, designer sunglasses and a $10,000 Rolex watch.

JOHNSON also traveled to Connecticut on at least three occasions between April and August 2010 and stole credit cards from female patrons at theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield and Colchester.  JOHNSON produced false driver’s licenses in each victim’s name, but with a photograph of Jamie McGowan, his female accomplice on these trips.  McGowan, at JOHNSON’s direction, used the stolen credit cards and fraudulent identification to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and retail items, and also to make more than $5,000 in cash advances at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

McGowan testified at trial that she participated in JOHNSON’s credit card theft scheme for more than a year.  During that time, a “good weekend” yielded between $50,000 and $70,000 and a “bad weekend” yielded between $20,000 and $30,000.  McGowan stated that most weekends were “good weekends.” 

Trial testimony also revealed that JOHNSON committed similar crimes in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Hawaii.

JOHNSON has an extensive criminal history dating to his first arrest at the age of 12, and he began this credit card fraud and identity theft scheme in July 2008, shortly after completing a 71-month federal sentence for jewelry theft.

JOHNSON has been in custody since October 2010 after he was arrested in Indiana on a violation of supervised release warrant from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

On June 22, 2012, Lashirelle Bryant and Jamie McGowan each pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of an access device and one count of aggravated identity theft.  On November 29, 2012, McGowan was sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment.  Bryant awaits sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Greenwich, Fairfield and Waterford Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Kale and Paul H. McConnell.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722

Updated March 18, 2015