|For Immediate Release
Case # 07WF1009
August 14, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FORMER FUGITIVE SENTENCED TO OVER 31 YEARS IN PRISON FOR $2.8 MILLION FRAUD SCHEMES 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 sentenced today to 31 years and four months in state prison for 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 on April 7, 2009, 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. The defendant has a prior strike conviction for carjacking in 1994.
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.
On Feb. 12, 2007, police pulled Franklin over during a traffic stop. After discovering that the defendant had an outstanding warrant from Los Angeles County, Franklin was searched and found to be in possession of a driver’s license bearing his picture and the personal information of victim Rex B. In Franklin’s car, officers found an envelope containing the finance applications.