Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen victim of identity theft

Even one of the world's richest men was unable to prevent a case of identity theft. In this case it was Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, who got hit with the crime thanks to a man who managed to gain access to one of Allen's bank accounts.

The Associated Press, via USAToday.com, reports that this week the criminal complaint was unsealed. The complaint revealed that Brandon Lee Price, a deserter from the US Army, contacted Citibank in January and managed to get the bank to change the address of an account owned by Allen from Seattle to Pittsburgh. The article doesn't state how Price knew about Allen's account or how he convinced the bank to change the address.

A few days later, Price called Citibank again. This time he claimed that he had lost the debit card on that same account owned by Allen and got the bank to send him a new card to the Pittsburgh address. He apparently used the card to pay a loan and also used it for an attempted $15,000 Western Union money transfer; Price also tried to purchase items at a dollar store and a video game store.

Price was later arrested by federal authorities on March 2. A spokesperson for Allen said that Citibank became aware of the identity theft and that only the loan money Price made with the debit card went through.

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18 Comments

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This theft was due to the stupidity of the bank employee who made the changes without first verifying she/he was talking to the right person.

Whoever made that mistake should be instantly FIRED.

TechieXP said,
This theft was due to the stupidity of the bank employee who made the changes without first verifying she/he was talking to the right person.

Whoever made that mistake should be instantly FIRED.

Exactly.
Lousy Citibank.

TechieXP said,
This theft was due to the stupidity of the bank employee who made the changes without first verifying she/he was talking to the right person.

Whoever made that mistake should be instantly FIRED.

The article doesn't go into detail about how he persuaded the bank to change the address. He probably answered security questions correctly.

TechieXP said,
This theft was due to the stupidity of the bank employee who made the changes without first verifying she/he was talking to the right person.

Whoever made that mistake should be instantly FIRED.

Aren't you jumping into conclusions?

AtriusNY said,

Aren't you jumping into conclusions?

In this instance, it's shoot first, ask questions later! Of course, in todays greedy a** world, that employee would then immediately sue Citibank, so would be more advisable for Citibank to give employee temp leave of absence, or some crap.

Kind oflike what some one above already said though, way to go Citibank! Definitely a dip s**t company. Never liked them when I had a card of theirs, which is why I don't have it anymore too!!

'He apparently used the card to pay a loan and also used it for an attempted $15,000 Western Union money transfer; Price also tried to purchased items at a dollar store and a video game store.'
So errr, you pay off a loan and send $15,000 to someone... And then buy stuff from a dollar store? Bit of a strange thing to do, unless he thought it was more likely to go un-noticed?

n_K said,
'He apparently used the card to pay a loan and also used it for an attempted $15,000 Western Union money transfer; Price also tried to purchased items at a dollar store and a video game store.'
So errr, you pay off a loan and send $15,000 to someone... And then buy stuff from a dollar store? Bit of a strange thing to do, unless he thought it was more likely to go un-noticed?

That is typical of ID Theft. They will try to charge something small to ensure everything works and most of the time will not require a signature or ID.

Identity theft is not theft. The original identity is still in place, it's just making a copy.

Oh wait, this is the excuse pirates use, nevermind...

giantpotato said,
Identity theft is not theft. The original identity is still in place, it's just making a copy.

Oh wait, this is the excuse pirates use, nevermind...

oh please don't give people ammo to start that argument.......

giantpotato said,
Identity theft is not theft. The original identity is still in place, it's just making a copy.

Oh wait, this is the excuse pirates use, nevermind...


That's a pretty weak argument considering that the theft here is actually taking someones money thus making it unavailable for use. Copying or creation of money is counterfeit not theft

Maybe keep your unsolicited flame bait to yourself.

Xenosion said,

That's a pretty weak argument considering that the theft here is actually taking someones money thus making it unavailable for use. Copying or creation of money is counterfeit not theft

Maybe keep your unsolicited flame bait to yourself.

the name is "identity theft" that was the topic, the stealing of money was after the fact... and he was saying identity "theft" was the one being copied, not the money... read more carefully next time...

Xenosion said,

That's a pretty weak argument considering that the theft here is actually taking someones money thus making it unavailable for use. Copying or creation of money is counterfeit not theft

Maybe keep your unsolicited flame bait to yourself.


Actually it is that much stronger. The money was electronic in form and replaced without the owner losing anything from it. So the it still isn't theft. The money is still physically where it was to begin with.

neufuse said,

the name is "identity theft" that was the topic, the stealing of money was after the fact... and he was saying identity "theft" was the one being copied, not the money... read more carefully next time...


The goal of identity theft is to steal items usually for monetary gain. For what you and the giantpotato are describing is identify cloning which is for purposes of keeping one's own identity unknown.
"Theft" in "Identity Theft" refers to stealing, not copying.

ILikeTobacco said,

Actually it is that much stronger. The money was electronic in form and replaced without the owner losing anything from it. So the it still isn't theft. The money is still physically where it was to begin with.

You go buy something with your "electronic" bank card and see where your money goes. How ridiculous. Will you get it back upon knowing of fraud? Sure. But that doesn't mean it wasn't gone out of your account.

giantpotato said,
Identity theft is not theft. The original identity is still in place, it's just making a copy.

Oh wait, this is the excuse pirates use, nevermind...

Price called the bank, and reported the card lost. The bank will deactivate the existing card. Allan can no longer use said card to identify himself with any cash machine or bank (no, you can't reuse a cancelled card.. ever). So his ID has been stolen.

spader said,

Its not identity theft its identity fraud. No one can steal your identity, they can only claim to be you.

For it to be fraud, an act of deception has to have been carried out. The said act, is fraud. So you'd call it identity fraud if you were to talk about how someone used your personal identity to buy an item without your concent.

Theft is when someone removes a physical object, that you can hold, so you no longer have access to it.

And if we really want to get technical about it, it could be argued that no one has performed identity theft or fraud on your human self, just your person. The difference being your person is a legal entity, and all your identity, such as bank details, birth certificates, bills passports etc are all of a corperate nature and do not actually identify you as a human. They identify you has a person. Huge differences, but thats just the start of arguing the toss over it all.