Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
April 7, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
FORMER FUGITIVE CONVICTED OF $2.8 MILLION FRAUD SCHEMES FOR USING STOLEN IDENTITIES TO BUY A HOME, OPEN LINES OF CREDIT, AND ILLEGALLY TRANSFER PROPERTIES TO POST BAIL
SANTA ANA – A former fugitive who fled while awaiting trial for multiple white collar crimes was convicted today of committing $2.8 million in fraud by stealing the identities of over a dozen victims and using them to buy a home, attempt to purchase a boat, open lines of credit, and illegally transfer properties from a homicide jail inmate in order to post criminal bail. Gene Anthony Franklin Jr., 34, Tustin, was found guilty by a jury of 46 felony counts including identity theft, false impersonation, grand theft by false pretense, making false financial statements, attempted grand theft by false pretense, falsely stating financial condition, identity theft with intent to defraud, acquiring access card account information, resisting arrest, child abuse, conspiracy, forgery of signature, forgery of deed, recording a false or forged instrument, failure to appear on a felony while on bail, attempted extortion by threat, and dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime. The white collar crime sentencing enhancements were found true.
Franklin faces a maximum sentence of 73 years and four months in state prison at his sentencing on June 19, 2009, in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
FRAUDULENT PURCHASE OF HUNTINGTON BEACH HOME
In October 2006, Franklin obtained Jorge V.’s personal identifying information while discussing a real estate investment opportunity, in which the victim later decided against participating.
In late 2006, Franklin fraudulently purchased a $685,000 Huntington Beach home under the name Jorge V. without the victim’s knowledge or consent. The victim’s true driver’s license and social security card were included in the home loan file, but the victim’s salary and assets were falsely over reported. The telephone line and water bill were also established under Jorge V.’s name. The initial deposit and a subsequent payment on the home came from checks written by Franklin bearing his signature. The defendant also paid the phone and water bill from his own bank accounts. When Jorge V. later checked his credit, he learned that his name was on the loan for Franklin’s house. The defendant falsely assured Jorge V. that his name would be removed from the home within 90 days.
IDENTITY THEFT AND ATTEMPTED FRAUDULENT BOAT PURCHASE
Franklin obtained Rex B.’s personal information under the pretense of obtaining credit for the victim for a real estate deal, which did not go through. Victim Gilbert L.’s wife was a long-time friend of the defendant.
In January 2007, Franklin attempted to purchase a $310,000 boat using the name Gilbert L. He attempted to secure a $240,000 loan using the victim’s name and credit information.