Woman sentenced in movie theater scheme

Jamie McGowan, 25, of Philadelphia, Pa., was sentenced last week by United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme in Greenwich.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2008 and 2010, Anthony Johnson, also of Philadelphia, operated a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme at movie theaters in Connecticut. As part of the scheme, Mr. Johnson targeted movies that he believed were geared toward women. Mr. Johnson and a female accomplice, who was sometimes Ms. McGowan and sometimes another woman, would then enter a theater and sit behind an intended victim. As the movie played, Mr. Johnson would crawl on the floor and remove credit cards from a purse that a victim had placed on the floor of the theater. He would then created false identification in each victim’s name, but with a photo of Ms. McGowan and use the stolen credit cards to make substantial unauthorized purchases and cash advances.

On three occasions between April and August 2010, Mr. Johnson and Ms. McGowan traveled to Connecticut and stole credit cards from female patrons at movie theaters in Greenwich, Fairfield and Colchester. At his direction, Ms. McGowan used the stolen credit cards and fraudulent identification to purchase thousands of dollars in gift cards and retail items, and also to make more than $5,000 in cash advances at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

Judge Bryant ordered Ms. McGowan to pay restitution in the amount of $20,468.31.

Ms. McGowan has been detained since her arrest on Jan. 17, 2012. On June 22, she pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of an access device and one count of aggravated identity theft.

On Oct. 22, 2012, a jury found Mr. Johnson guilty of seven counts of unauthorized use of an access device and two counts of aggravated identity theft stemming from this scheme. He awaits sentencing.

Lashirelle Bryant, who traveled to Connecticut with Mr. Johnson in December 2008, stole credit cards and made more than $50,000 in unauthorized purchases, also has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the FBI and the Greenwich, Fairfield and Waterford Police Departments. The case was being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rahul Kale and Paul H. McConnell.

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