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Attorney General Baker Announces Guilty Plea In Identity Fraud Scam Targeting Federated Department Stores Employees

PRESS ADVISORY

Attorney General Baker Announces Guilty Plea In Identity Fraud Scam Targeting Federated Department Stores Employees

April 26, 2005

Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today the successful prosecution of Lucian Rye for an elaborate identity theft scheme involving Rye’s fellow employees at Federated Systems Group, a subsidiary of Federated Department Stores, owner of both Macy’s and Bloomingdales department stores. After Attorney General Baker obtained an indictment against Rye for felony computer theft, computer invasion of privacy, and financial identity fraud, Rye elected to avoid a trial by entering a guilty plea in front of Fulton Superior Court Judge Gino Brogdon to the three felony charges on Friday.

Rye was an employee of Federated Systems Group, a subsidiary of Federated Department Stores set up to handle the date processing needs of the various Federated corporate entities. During his employment, Rye installed a computer program that illegally logged the keystroke activities of his fellow employees. Through the information that he obtained, Rye applied for credit cards using the personal identifying information of his fellow Federated employees, including the then-Chief Executive Officer of Federated Systems Group.

Following the guilty plea on Friday, Judge Brogdon sentenced Rye to a three year prison sentence followed by seven years of probation, plus 700 hours of community service. The court also ordered Rye to forfeit all computers, printers and software used to perpetrate the scam to the state, and the court entered an order preventing Rye from taking employment where he would have access to personal identifying information for anyone else.

In announcing the sentence, Attorney General Baker stated, “Rye’s crimes indicate just how critical it is to constantly monitor your credit report and protect your personal financial information. If the CEO of a large, technically-savvy corporation can be targeted, any person can become a victim. Today’s felony sentence, however, sends a clear message to would-be identity thieves that identity fraud will be dealt with swiftly and harshly here in Georgia.”

Assistant Attorney General Rolando Bascumbe handled the prosecution for the Attorney General’s office. The case was investigated by Ondray Jennings and Monty Mohr of the Office of Consumer Affairs.