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Press Release

Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty in Large-Scale Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa. – A resident of Providence, Rhode Island pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Doherty Kushimo, 54, pleaded guilty to ten counts before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Kushimo traded stolen identities with other co-conspirators via email which were used to open bank accounts and file fraudulent federal tax returns. The bank accounts were then used as repositories for federal tax refunds which were obtained by filing the fraudulent federal tax returns using the stolen identities that Kushimo and his co-conspirators traded amongst each other. Over a thousand credit cards, obtained using stolen identities, were found during a search of Kushimo’s residence. Handwritten lists containing over fifty thousand stolen identities were also found in Kushimo’s house. Kushimo also opened and controlled numerous bank accounts himself using stolen identities, including several at Widget Financial (formerly Erie General Electric Federal Credit Union) in Erie, Pennsylvania. Kushimo also controlled numerous mail boxes that were used as repositories for stolen identity information, credit cards and federal tax information.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for February 6, 2017. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 38 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of loss to the victims, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Kushimo.

Updated October 6, 2016

Identity Theft