A Filipino man has been charged with running a large-scale identity theft scheme targeting numerous celebrities and other high-profile victims, reported Reuters.
Last week, federal prosecutors in the District of New Jersey, charged Peter Locsin, 35, of Talisay City, Philippines, with one count of bank fraud conspiracy and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to authorities, Locsin and several other conspirators first compromised personal identifying information (PII) – including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, address history, and work history of well-known account-holders.
Prosecutors said Locsin was able to access individual accounts through websites or other online means, as well as through telephone calls.
“Locsin and his conspirators used those accounts to make, or attempt to make, wire transfers of funds, order merchandise, order emergency replacement cards, add supplemental cardholders to accounts, or change addresses related to those accounts – none of which was authorized by the account-holders,” read the statement made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey.
The names of the affected celebrities were not mentioned in the court documents. However, in June 2015, The Philippine Star newspaper reported former FBI director Robert Mueller was among the victims, said Reuters.
“The count of bank fraud conspiracy carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison, and the counts of aggravated identity theft each carry a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison,” added U.S. prosecutors.
Locsin is currently in the custody of Filipino authorities on unrelated charges.