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.