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N.J. Man Admits to Web Credit Theft

May 17, 2000

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) _ A New Jersey man has admitted to a scheme in which he used personal information gleaned from the Internet to create hundreds of fake credit card accounts in the names of the nation’s highest-ranking military officers.

Lamar Christian, 32, of Trenton, N.J., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Federal prosecutors say Christian created 331 fake credit accounts and used them to buy $161,000 worth of computers and jewelry online.

The cards were set up in the names of many of the nation’s highest-ranking officers, including former Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, who was President Clinton’s top military adviser until he retired in 1997.

Christian told U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson that he got the names and Social Security numbers from a Web site run by Glen Roberts, a Pennsylvania privacy advocate.

Roberts said he got the information from the Congressional Record, which published the Social Security numbers and names of high-ranking officers when they were promoted. He said he publishes the Social Security numbers on his Web site to prove how easy it is to get such private information from public sources.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Beth Moskow-Schnoll told Robinson the Congressional Record no longer publishes the Social Security numbers of newly promoted officers. But the Congressional Record accounts of previous promotions still are available online with names and Social Security numbers, Roberts said.

Another man, Nevison Stevens, 29, of Trenton, pleaded guilty in the case earlier this year. Both men face up to four years in prison when they are sentenced. Christian is to be sentenced Aug. 3, Stevens on June 22.

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