Man who tried to steal Bernanke's identity is sentenced
His confirmation to a second term as Federal Reserve chairman may be in doubt, but at least Ben S. Bernanke got good news last week on the identity theft front: A leader of the ring that victimized him and his wife was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.
The Fed chair became a victim of the fast-growing financial crime when a thief stole Anna Bernanke’s purse from the back of her chair at a Capitol Hill Starbucks on Aug. 7, 2008. Inside were her leather wallet, four credit cards, $5 in cash and her checkbook, police and court records said.
A week later, a $900 check from the couple’s Wachovia Bank account was deposited at a Bank of America in Hyattsville.
Prosecutors said the theft was part of a nationwide identity theft ring that has caused more than $1.5 million in losses to at least 10 financial institutions. One of two ringleaders, Leonardo Darnell Zanders, 49, of Dolton, Ill., was sentenced on Friday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to 16 years and eight months in prison, prosecutors said. Twelve people have been charged, and 10 have plead guilty.
Zanders pleaded guilty during his trial in September for conspiring to commit bank fraud. A transcript shows that another defendant who earlier admitted guilt, Darrell Earl Price, was on the stand when the Bernanke name came up. He testified that he had received a Bernanke check at least once that was used in the bank-fraud scheme.
“What was the purpose — what was the purpose of your receipt of that check in the name of Ben and Anna Bernanke?” a prosecutor asked Price.
“The same transaction,” Price responded.
“In other words, to do the fradulent check cashing transaction?” the prosecutor said.
“Yes,” Price answered.
Bernanke’s renomination to the Fed job, which had seemed assured, was thrown into doubt last week amid the populist backlash that followed a surprising Republican U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday.
The White House has launched a furious campaign to support Bernanke, and the Obama administration and key Senators expressed more confidence over the weekend in his prospects.
A spokeswoman for Bernanke declined comment.
Washington Post editors
January 25, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse , Jerry Markon | Tags: Anna Bernanke, Ben Bernanke, Bernanke, FED, bank fraud, identity theft
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