Computer technician pleads guilty in ID theft

September 16, 2004

By Larry Neumester, Associated Press

NEW YORK - A computer technician who prosecutors said made possible the largest identity theft in U.S. history, surpassing $50 million, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy in a scheme that poached personal information from tens of thousands of people.

Philip Cummings said he didn't realize his accomplices would do so much damage with the information he sold.

"I didn't know the magnification," Cummings, 35, told U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels, who set sentencing for Jan. 11. However, he acknowledged that he knew his actions were wrong and illegal.

Cummings worked from mid-1999 through August 2000 as a help-desk worker at Teledata Communications Inc., a Long Island computer software company that provides banks with computerized access to credit information databases.

The government said Cummings agreed to sell to an unidentified co-conspirator the passwords and codes for downloading consumer credit reports.

Tens of thousands of credit reports were stolen.

Under a plea agreement, Cummings may be sentenced to at least 14 years in prison for conspiracy, fraud and wire fraud.

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