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Man faces fraud, ID theft charges

Sirvon Thomas got names and credit card numbers off the Internet and used them to buy everything from computers to tire rims, police say.

After merchandise was delivered, he offered some items for sale on Internet auction sites and accepted money but never delivered the goods.

Thomas did all of this, detectives say, while on house arrest for a 2001 identity theft in Tampa.

After a five-month investigation, St. Petersburg police arrested and charged Thomas, 22, with scheme to defraud and two counts of identity theft. Over three years, police said, he told them he got 2,000 identities from across the country and pocketed more than $100,000.

"He's a very enterprising young man," St. Petersburg police economic crimes Sgt. Bill Korinek said Tuesday. "If he had put his energy and efforts into something legitimate, he could have done well."

Last May, Thomas pleaded guilty to grand theft, fraudulent use of identification and marijuana possession charges in Tampa. He was placed on probation for 36 months. When St. Petersburg police arrested him Saturday, he was on house arrest.

St. Petersburg police spokesman George Kajtsa said Thomas told investigators he secured names and personal identification from 2,000 people, but detectives have charged him with using 25 identities to secure lines of credit with banks and merchants.

He ordered jewelry, computers and clothing and had them shipped to vacant houses, where he waited for delivery, police said. He then sold goods on the street at a reduced rate.

St. Petersburg detectives began investigating Thomas in October after getting complaints from computer companies such as Gateway and Apple Computer.

According to police, Thomas secured personal identification information of a New York man. Thomas used the information to get a bank loan and bought computers from Apple on Feb. 18.

This month, police said, Thomas secured a Colorado man's information and used it to get another bank loan. Thomas ordered more than $5,000 in computers from Apple in the man's name. The merchandise was delivered last week to Thomas' house on Murok Way S in St. Petersburg.

He was being held Tuesday in the Pinellas County Jail without bail.