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Attorney General Baker and Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs Obtain Twenty Year Prison Sentence Against Gwinnett County Identity Thief

PRESS ADVISORY

Attorney General Baker and Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs Obtain Twenty Year Prison Sentence Against Gwinnett County Identity Thief

February 21, 2007

Attorney General Thurbert Baker joined with Joseph Doyle, the head of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, to announce that Baker’s office had taken a guilty plea from Ishmail Abdullah, a Gwinnett County resident, who was charged with operating an identity theft scheme in Gwinnett County. Abdullah pled guilty to six counts of Financial Identity Fraud. He was sentenced to twenty years in prison, to be followed by ten years on probation; he also received a $1,000.00 fine. The pleas were taken Tuesday afternoon in Gwinnett Superior Court before Judge Deborah Turner.

Abdullah and a co-defendant purchased identifying information, which included checking account numbers, on over 150 different individuals. Abdullah then printed fake checks on these individuals’ accounts using magnetic ink, the same type of ink as that used in printing real checks. Abdullah and his co-defendant would then use those checks to purchase items from area merchants; in many instances they returned later to those merchants, returning the items for cash.

“This one individual had the capability at his home computer to ruin the lives of over 150 different families,” Attorney General Baker said. “His actions completely disregarded the effects that it would have on the families whose accounts he plundered. Fortunately, he will have the next twenty years in prison to reflect on his conduct and the harm that he caused these Georgians.”

“This combination of aggressive investigation and aggressive prosecution should send a message that identity theft is looked upon as a very serious crime in Georgia. People who participate in these schemes will pay dearly for their transgressions.” added Doyle.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Daniel Hiatt, and the case was investigated by Brian Musgrove of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs. Charges against Adbullah’s co-defendant, Trenell King, remain pending after King’s arraignment in Gwinnett County on Financial Identity Fraud charges yesterday.