Stephen Douglas Shaw pleaded no contest to defrauding numerous victims who all shared one thing in common with him: His name. His victims allegedly hail from all across the country. Stephen Frank Shaw learned this the hard way.
Frank Shaw is from Boynton Beach and says that Douglas Shaw used his name to rent a car in Orange County. Douglas Shaw was eventually booked for grand theft under Frank Shaw’s name. Years earlier, the same man used his name to get a $10,000 loan from a credit union.
A Game of Shaws
You’ve likely heard of the game of shells where you have to guess which shell the ball is hidden beneath. Douglas Shaw stands accused of playing much the same game with anyone unfortunate enough to share a name. According to prosecutors, he would even target individuals who shared a similar name, individuals like Stephen Shaws, for example.
Douglas Shaw has an impressive wrap sheet. He’s been charged with over 30 offenses across the State of Florida. This includes two convictions for identity theft and many more for check fraud and grand theft. Most of the charges against Shaw ended up either dismissed or resulted in probation sentences. Shaw served prison sentences totaling about four years for only two convictions.
Shaw was largely able to get away with this for an extended period of time because he was able to provide social security numbers of the other Stephen Shaws to credit unions and car rental companies. Authorities who investigate identity theft say this is among the most common and successful tactics of identity thieves.
Shaw managed to get a line of credit Stephen Frank Shaw’s name and maxed it out to the tune of $13,000.
Stephen Douglas Shaw Now Trying to Make Amends
Stephen Douglas Shaw is now trying to make amends for harming the credit of numerous individuals who all had his name. He is making restitution to the bank he defrauded and settling a debt with Lowes. He has also written apology letters to each of the Stephen Shaws who had to deal with the stress of restoring their credit after it had been destroyed by Douglas Shaw.
Scams like this, however, remain commonplace. Identity thieves use credentials of others who share their name and can provide information to creditors based on that phony information. For some victims, it takes years before they’ve even realized what has happened. Then they end up drawn-out disputes with creditors having to prove that they never conducted these transactions.
This is a real danger of having a very common name like John or Bob Smith. For Stephen Frank Shaw, the identity attacks continued even after Douglas Shaw had been convicted of previous crimes. The most recent was in 2015 when Douglas Shaw rented a Lincoln Navigator in Frank Shaw’s name.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with identity theft, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm can ensure that the prosecution does it’s due diligence and doesn’t overcharge you for the crime. Talk to us today.