Did the ‘i’ stand for identity?

Many San Franciscans use their iPods for questionably legal purposes, but police say accused identity thief Wilson Lee had more than just a few free downloads — he had the credit card numbers of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Trial is set to begin next week for Lee, 35, of San Francisco, for 53 charges, including fraud and identity theft. Police arrested him in a sting operation in October and discovered he had identity information for more than 500 people.

Lee is accused of using the stolen credit card information to rent computer equipment online. He would then allegedly have the equipment shipped to hotel rooms he rented with stolen credit cards. He would use phony driver’s licenses with the true names and addresses of his victims to accept delivery of the computers. He then allegedly accepted the equipment and fled, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Police recovered a laptop, iPod and computer hard drive that belonged to Lee and contained information including names, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and financial documents, according to the District Attorney’s Office. In addition to renting hotels rooms and buying computers, Lee allegedly used the stolen information to purchase theater tickers, rent a car and gain credit card reports from finance companies.

Pelosi and FBI agent Larai Quy appear in the list of names and credit card numbers recovered from Lee’s possession.

“We have a lot of theories, but we can’t disclose how he got it or how we think he got it [the information],” prosecutor Conrad Del Rosario said Thursday.

Del Rosario did not say whether Lee had used the information, but Lee’s lawyer, Brian Peterson, said he had not used it.

“There’s no charge that he used that credit card information for any reason and there’s no evidence that anybody did,” Peterson said.

Lee allegedly used the small and portable iPod to simply store information.

“Anything you can store in a hard drive you can store in an iPod,” Del Rosario said. “It’s a lot easier than carrying around a stack of papers.”

Lee, who also has federal charges pending against him in this case, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. Peterson said he is working to resolve the case before it goes to trial.

“What we’re all trying to do is see if there’s something we can all do to resolve all of these cases,” Peterson said.

amartin@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Those who stick around San Francisco on long holiday weekends can enjoy a slower pace, uncrowded streets and beloved institutions like cable cars. <ins>(Kevin Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
These empty San Francisco streets: A holiday dream

We’re here because we can be, and because we have nowhere else to be

It’s disheartening to see that Bill Graham Civic’s marquee isn’t announcing upcoming concerts. (Screenshot/Bill Graham Civic Twitter)
A cruise through The City with the ghosts of rides past

I take my time and don’t even mind the occasional traffic jams

A ban on smoking or vaping in multi-unit buildings has drawn opposition from cannabis advocates, who say it would leave users with no legal place to consume a legal substance. (Shutterstock)
Cannabis group slams Yee’s proposed apartment smoking ban as ‘classist’

Legislation would impose fines of $1,000 a day on repeat violators

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes in leadership at SFPUC spark concern, hope for future water policy

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Most Read