Prosecutors: Man will plead guilty for stealing Paul Allen's credit card

Prosecutors: Man will plead guilty for stealing Paul Allen's credit card
Paul Allen, left, the owner of the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers, sits with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll before a Blazers game in 2012. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

PITTSBURGH – Billionaire Paul Allen may be one of the richest men in the world with top-notch security, but even he isn’t immune from identity theft.

A man accused of stealing Allen’s identity and racking up charges on his credit card is set to plead guilty for his crimes, according to federal prosecutors. Allen owns the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks and was a co-founder of Microsoft.

Brandon Lee Price of Pittsburgh will plead guilty to four counts of bank fraud, according to Margaret Philbin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh. Price is set to change his plea during a court appearance in a few weeks.

He is a soldier who the Army says was AWOL for two years. During that time, investigators said he pulled off a scheme to assume Paul Allen’s identity – and he apparently did it quite easily.

FBI investigators said last year Price managed to change the address on Allen’s bank account to an address in Pittsburgh, where he lived with his mother.

He then called Citibank a few days later and said he lost his debit card, investigators said. The bank mailed him a replacement card for Allen’s account.

The FBI said Price went to a video game store and spent $278.18 and later rang up a second transaction for just a buck at a dollar store.

That was just the appetizer, though. The FBI said Price then tried to pay off part of his personal loans through Armed Forces Bank and make a $15,000 wire transfer.

Citibank noticed the transaction was suspicious and alerted law enforcement. Neither the FBI nor Citibank will say how Price got Allen’s account information in the first place.

In a statement after Price’s 2012 arrest, a spokesman for Allen said “while the financial loss here was small, I’m sure the feeling of being a victim of identity theft is unsettling no matter how much money you’ve lost.”

Philbin said each of the four counts carries penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.