Alleged Identity Thief Scams Billionaire Microsoft Co-Founder, Shops at Dollar Store

Paul Lilly

There are some good deals to be had at dollar stores and other thrift markets, and they're especially useful if you're tight on cash. That's all well and good. But if you're ever successful at scamming a billionaire out of his debit card, why not think bigger? You're probably going to get caught anyway, so you might as well go down in a blaze of glory trying to purchase a 152-inch TV or some other piece of exorbitant merchandise, right? That's an idea that was lost on Brandon Lee Price, the man who allegedly scammed one of the richest men on the planet.

Federal investigators allege that Mr. Price managed to change the address on a bank account owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, BusinessWeek.com reports . The simple scam consisted of Mr. Price calling up Citibank and changing the address from Seattle to Pittsburgh, and then calling back three days later to say he lost his debit card. They promptly sent him a new one, which he used to make an overdue loan payment on his Armed Forces Bank loan.

He also tried to make a $15,000 Western Union transaction, attempted to buy videogames, and tried his luck at a dollar store with the stolen debit card. Out of the four attempted transactions totaling $15,936.99, the only one that processed was his loan payment.

"Clearly it's a reminder than anyone can be a victim of [identity theft]," said David Postman, a spokesman for Paul Allen. "It certainly is a surprise and reason for everyone to make sure that all that stuff is properly cared for and monitored."

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