HOUSTON (CN) – A Chinese national who pleaded guilty in an identity theft scam that stole $980,000 from a victim’s accounts faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Xin Gu, 29, of Dalian, China pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft as his second day of trial was set to begin last week, prosecutors said.
“On Feb. 3, 2012, Gu was arrested after he posed as someone else in a Chase bank in Houston,” prosecutors said in the statement. “He had presented a fraudulent passport with someone else’s picture and information as well as other fraudulent identification documents bearing the victim’s name and identifying information.
“At the time of his arrest, Gu also had other receipts and withdrawal slips for other withdrawals made on the victim’s account that same day.”
Gu did not act alone, prosecutors said: Seven days before he was arrested a man posing as the victim added a false authorized user to the victim’s bank accounts at a Chase Bank in New York.
A woman posing as the authorized user then started making withdraws on the victim’s accounts in Houston, prosecutors said.
“Gu and the woman posing as the victim and fictional authorized user, respectively, made withdrawals from the victim’s business and personal accounts totaling approximately $980,000 in a seven-day period,” prosecutors said.
“One of those purchases included a $236,000 Mercedes Benz purchased with a cashier’s check.
“Items found in the Mercedes allowed Secret Service agents to determine Gu knew the woman posing as the fictional account user.”
Gu has been in federal custody since his arrest. He is to be sentenced on Oct. 19.