Essex man sentenced in identity theft case

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Arrested HandcuffsOn Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Robin Summers-Grace, 50, of Baltimore, to 42 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Summers-Grace’s co-conspirator, Joseph Pauling, 40, of Essex, was sentenced to 6 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. Judge Hollander ordered both defendants to pay more than $139,000 in restitution.

According to both plea agreements, beginning September 1, 2015 and continuing through June 30, 2016, Pauling and Summers-Grace defrauded banks and retailers by opening up fraudulent lines of credit in the names of other individuals.

Pauling would obtain the personal identifying information, including social security numbers, addresses, and names of actual individuals. Pauling would use this information to produce false identification, including counterfeit driver’s licenses, with the picture of Summers-Grace. Pauling also used special electronic equipment to create fraudulent credit cards under names matching the driver’s license.

According to court documents, Pauling provided the false identification as well as the credit histories of the individuals to Summers-Grace. Pauling and Summers-Grace would travel to retailers throughout Maryland, as well as other states, and Summers-Grace would apply for a store credit card using the false information provided by Pauling, and then would purchase the items. Pauling would sell the stolen items to “customers” on the street. On many occasions, Pauling would take “orders” from individuals for particular items in advance of the thefts.

The items stolen and sold in the course of the scheme included iPhones, iPads, flat-screen televisions, laptop computers, kitchen ovens, refrigerators, washer/dryer units, wood flooring, furniture, shoes, handbags, and designer watches.

In the course of the scheme, Pauling and Summers-Grace possessed the personal identifying information of over 200 real individuals, and defrauded dozens of banks and numerous retailers. The total intended loss amount from the scheme exceeded $250,000.

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