Bakersfield man indicted on gun and fraud charges

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield man has been indicted on fraud, gun and identity theft charges in connection with using stolen checks and stolen credit and debit cards to make unauthorized purchases and withdrawals in the amount of at least $20,000.

Lawrence Smith, 34, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, bank fraud, use and possession of unauthorized debit and credit cards, aggravated identity theft, possession of stolen mail and unauthorized possession of Postal Service keys and locks, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California news release.

Smith is accused of unlawfully obtaining a 12-gauge shotgun, the release says, and from March through July 2020 also obtained hundreds of pieces of stolen mail including checks, debit cards and credit cards. He allegedly altered and forged the stolen checks and used the debit cards to deposit the checks into the victims’ bank accounts and make cash withdrawals.

He also used the debit and credit cards to make unauthorized purchases at retail stores, the release says.

In total, Smith made at least $20,000 in fraudulent transactions on the victims’ bank accounts and debit and credit cards, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

If convicted on all counts, he faces decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

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