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Old-school identity thief caught after fraud spree

Old-school identity thief caught after fraud spree

Catch him if you can — and for a while they couldn't.

Queens County, New York, District Attorney Richard Brown announced the arrest of a homeless man who allegedly stole the identities of more than 20 workers comp claimants and used that information to make online purchases and reserve hotel rooms.

Rafal Bogun, 33, was working for a temporary staffing company between February 2013 and July 2013, during which time he was assigned to an unidentified workers comp law firm, according to a statement issued by the district attorney's office last week. Mr. Bogun had access to the personal identifying information of hundreds of individuals and used the information of more than 20 people with pending workers comp claims to open online credit cards, according to the statement.

“He is alleged to have caused credit fiascos for his victims and bilked hotels and online retailers out of thousands of dollars,” Mr. Brown said.

The attorney general compared Mr. Bogun's alleged schemes to the plot of the 2002 movie “Catch Me If You Can,” which itself was based on the old-fashioned capers of Frank Abagnale Jr., who successfully performed cons by posing as an airline pilot, a doctor and a prosecutor in the 1960s and forging checks valued at $2.5 million.

“Similar to the lead character played by actor Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie 'Catch Me If You Can,' the defendant allegedly played out a complicated game of cat and mouse with law enforcement for over a year,” Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Abagnale was vigorously pursued by the FBI before he was captured in France at the age of 21 and was imprisoned in France, Sweden and the United States. He eventually became a security consultant for the bureau, and later for corporations, on forgery, embezzlement and document security.

Mr. Bogun was arrested last week by Amtrak Police in Penn Station in New York City after allegedly advertising the sale of discounted train tickets and, using a fictitious name, meeting with an undercover operative and producing the ticket for purchase, according to the press release.

He faces charges including first and second-degree identity theft and is facing up to seven years in prison, according to the news release. Mr. Bogun was held on $100,000 bail and has a court date scheduled for next week.