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Woman sentenced in movie theater fraud scheme

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: TheDay.com

Published December 02. 2012 4:00PM   Updated December 03. 2012 12:15AM

A Philadelphia woman who was involved in a credit card fraud scheme in which she and a Philadelphia man purchased thousands of dollars in gift cards and items and got more than $5,000 in cash advances at the Mohegan Sun Casino, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release last week.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, between 2008 and 2010 Jamie McGowan and Anthony Johnson operated a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme at movie theaters in Connecticut.

As part of the scheme, Johnson targeted movies that he believed were geared towards women. During the showing, he and a female accomplice would sit behind a victim who had placed her purse on the floor. He would crawl under the seat and take the credit cards out of the purse. He would then create a false identification in the victim's name but with a photo of his female accomplice.

On three occasions between April and August 2010, Johnson and McGowan stole credit cards at theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield and Colchester and then produced false driver's licenses in each victim's name, but with a photograph of McGowan.

United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant ordered McGowan, who was arrested in January, to pay $20,468 in restitution. She pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of an access device and one count of aggravated identity theft.

In October a jury found Johnson guilty of seven counts of unauthorized use of an access device and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Another of his accomplices, Lashirelle Bryant, has pleaded guilty to stealing credit cards and making more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases. They are awaiting sentencing.

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