Serial identity thief pleads guilty, gets 10 years

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A 28-year-old man who went on an identity-theft crime spree in Santa Clara County, including in Palo Alto, pleaded guilty on March 22 to numerous criminal counts, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday, March 29.

Francis Humes of Monterey accepted counts of unlawful use of personal identifying information, grand theft, vehicle theft with a prior conviction, second-degree burglary, possession of methamphetamine and forgery. He also admitted to an aggravated white-collar-crime enhancement and an enhancement for committing crimes while out on bail. He will be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Humes went on an identity-theft crime spree in Santa Clara County from July to November 2010, according to the DA’s office.

Using victims’ information, he created fake California driver’s licenses, passed fraudulent checks, opened fraudulent credit card accounts, illegally accessed victims’ credit card accounts and fraudulently rented hotel rooms.

He used an assumed identity and leased a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz from the Hertz Rent-A-Car in Palo Alto, said Jennifer Deng, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.

The crimes occurred while Humes was out on bail, awaiting sentencing on another identity theft case, the DA’s office said.

When Humes was apprehended for his new crimes, police found with him numerous false identifications in various stages of production, stolen mail, stolen checks, a stolen laptop and methamphetamine. They also found the Mercedes.

“Mr. Humes was a sophisticated identity thief,” Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Deng said. “However, thanks to the dedicated efforts of law enforcement, identity theft will not pay in Santa Clara County.”

Humes is due to be sentenced on May 8, 2012, in Department 24 of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. The case was investigated by the Palo Alto Police Department, Santa Clara Police Department, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Campbell Police Department, and REACT, a Bay Area high-technology crimes and identity theft task force led by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

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