A man named Darren Carter has been charged with Identity Theft 1st Degree in Connecticut for stealing a man’s phone in California and then using it to access that victim’s Coinbase cryptocurrency account to steal $15,472.31 USD.
The Westport Police Department alleges that Carter stole the victim’s phone at a California airport on April 17, 2019, while the victim was traveling.
The accused appears to have been familiar with using cryptocurrencies. Within hours, Carter had removed the victim’s Coinbase funds:
“A few hours after the theft of his phone, (the victim) became aware that $15,472.31 had been transferred out of his Coinbase account; an application in which crypto-currency is managed.”
The accused allegedly sold the victim’s crypto for cash and then moved it off the exchange using PayPal:
“It was learned that funds from (the victim’s) account were converted into United States currency which was then moved into a PayPal account.”
Evidence turned up through the execution of “multiple” search warrants by the investigating officer eventually led directly to Carter.
The accused even accidentally sent a confessional email intended for the victim to the investigator:
“Among various financial transaction records allegedly connecting Carter to the crime, he additionally sent an apology e-mail intended for the victim to the investigating detective. In this message, he not only confessed to taking the victim’s phone while he was also traveling in California, but additionally admitted to transferring the victim’s Coinbase funds into a personal account.”
A nationwide active warrant was issued for Carter’s arrest, and on, “Monday, August 26, 2019 detectives traveled to Salem County Correctional Facility in Woodstown, New Jersey to take custody of Carter.”
He was then extradited back to Connecticut where he was charged with 53a-129b Identity Theft 1st Degree, and a bond for his release was set at $150,000 USD.
Unable to pay, Carter remains in custody.
Connecticut lawyer Mark Sherman, who partly specializes in defending against identity theft charges, wrote in a blog post that parties accused of 53a-129b Identity Theft 1st Degree in the state face a possible 20 years prison sentence.
According to Sherman, “one of most widely committed non-violent crimes in recent years is Identity Theft… a crime that can result in permanent damage…to a victim’s personal and professional lives, soiling their reputation, and detrimentally affecting their ability to find employment, obtain housing, insurance and mortgages.”
Sherman also claims there can be incidents of false charges relating to identify theft:
“Too often, top Stamford criminal lawyers have seen their clients arrested for crimes they did not commit, but were actually committed by someone who stole their identity in another part of the country.”