Friday Apr 08 2011
Prison for Auburn man busted in long-term identity theft scam
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
But tarnish on victim's good name remains.
An Auburn man who had passed himself off as a Florida man in an 18-year identity-theft marathon discovered by authorities earlier this year has been sent to state prison. But the case is far from closed, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office is pledging. Joseph Daniel Oscar Kidd, 56, was sentenced last week to a two-year term by Placer County Superior Court Judge Mark Curry. Kidd – who had been going under the name of Larry Edward Smith since 1993 – pleaded no contest to felony identity theft and welfare fraud charges. Prosecutor Joe Hoffmann said that he’s now taking steps to erase a string of crimes committed by Kidd but attributed to the real Larry Edward Smith. Kidd obtained the Florida man’s date of birth and social security number 18 years ago and, after settling in Auburn was arrested numerous time under his false moniker for drug offenses and one incident involving forgery, Hoffmann said. “He’s been convicted in seven prior Placer County cases under the victim’s identity of Larry Smith,” Hoffmann said. The lack of technological resources in 1993 is being blamed for the string of charges with no red flags being raised. Kidd’s fingerprints were even eventually linked to Smith’s name as the scam perpetuated itself. Kidd even spent time in state prison as Larry Edward Smith, Hoffmann said. The theft of his identity caused continuing problems for the real and perplexed Larry Smith in Florida. Smith, 67, has no criminal record, according to Placer County sheriff’s detectives. But because of the activities of Kidd in California, the legitimate Smith had liens placed against tax refunds, been denied medical care, and had his driver’s license suspended. He was even put in jail for eight days under an arrest warrant because of Kidd’s criminal activities on the other side of the country. Hoffmann said his work includes petitioning the court to find Larry Smith innocent in all seven prior criminal cases involving Kidd. As well, plans are to use the California Department of Justice database of people who had their identities stolen to help clear Smith’s tarnished name. “Larry Smith will have access to that database in the event anyone suspects that he committed the crimes for which Mr. Kidd was responsible,” Hoffmann said. Hoffmann also plans to contact prosecutor in Arkansas, where kid had also been arrested under the stolen Larry Smith identity. “We want the victim’s name cleared from any convictions perpetrated by Mr. Kidd under Larry Smith’s name,” Hoffmann said.