Man gets 4 years in ID theft
A 35-year-old Seattle man will serve four years in prison and pay restitution of more than $70,000 for mail fraud and aggravated identity...
Seattle Times staff reporter
A 35-year-old Seattle man will serve four years in prison and pay restitution of more than $70,000 for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft in a scheme that utilized peer-to-peer file-sharing programs to gain access to private information of dozens of victims.
Gregory Kopiloff was called a "highwayman in the virtual world" by U.S. District Judge James Robart.
"People were traveling by and he was able to seize their asset, their personal identity," Robart said during sentencing Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Kopiloff used popular file-sharing programs, including LimeWire, to snatch people's identities — accessing their computers and stealing tax forms, credit reports, student-loan applications and other personal information.
LimeWire and other peer-to-peer programs usually are used to trade and download music, movies, videos and other large computer files. Kopiloff, however, used the systems to invade and search the computers of other peer-to-peer users for personal information, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He then would set up bogus credit accounts in the names of other identity-theft victims to buy online merchandise.
According to court documents, Kopiloff also used other, more traditional methods of identity theft: stealing people's mail and taking records from trash cans.
There were more than 50 victims, including Bethany Pope, of Lake Stevens, who testified at Monday's sentencing. She told the judge that Kopiloff obtained a credit card in her name and charged nearly $4,000. She said it took weeks working with the banks and credit bureaus to sort it out; in the meantime she worried she wouldn't be able to afford Christmas for her two young children.
"I don't have the same trust in people that I used to," she said.
Defense attorney Jennifer Wellman said Kopiloff is "not proud" of his behavior and cooperated fully with authorities during the investigation and after his arrest last year.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or email@example.com
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