Federal authorities this month charged a US Army deserter with identity theft. His victim? Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.
"Clearly, it's a reminder that anyone can be a victim of this," a spokesperson for Mr. Allen said. "It certainly is a surprise and reason for everyone to make sure that all that stuff is properly cared for and monitored."
According to the complaint, which was unsealed by a federal court this week, Brandon Lee Price is wanted by the US Army for desertion. In January, he called Citibank and had the financial institution change the mailing address for Mr. Allen's account from Seattle to Mr. Price's address in Pittsburgh. He then called back to say he'd lost his debit card and requested that a new one be mailed to him.
Citibank complied, and Mr. Price tried to use Allen's new debit card to transfer $15,000 through Western Union. When that failed, he used the card to make a payment of over $650 to an overdue Armed Forces Bank loan account. He also spent $278 at a GameStop retail store and $1 at a Family Dollar store.
Citibank finally figured out the fraud and alerted the authorities. Price was arrested March 2 and charged with bank fraud and wire fraud. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted.
Mr. Allen cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975. Since leaving the company, he's purchased sports franchises like the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, and has created various other technology and investment firms. Allen is currently involved in some controversial technology patent lawsuits. He is worth a reported $14.2 billion.