PITTSBURGH -- An AWOL Army private from the East Liberty area of Pittsburgh persuaded Citibank employees to give him access to the bank account of one of the world's richest men, but as a result now faces charges of wire fraud and bank fraud, according to recently unsealed court documents.
Brandon Lee Price, whose age was not immediately available, called Citibank on Jan. 9 and had the address on Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen's account changed from Mr. Allen's Seattle mansion to an address in Pennsylvania, according to an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court Monday.
Mr. Allen, who started Microsoft along with Bill Gates, is consistently ranked as one of the world's 100 wealthiest people. He owns the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks and the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers.
The affidavit said that Mr. Price asked to have a new debit card for Mr. Allen's account sent to his home, but not to report the old card as stolen, and Citibank complied.
Mr. Price is accused of using Mr. Allen's account to pay off a debt of $658.81 and to attempt to get $15,000 in cash through a Western Union office, buy $278.18 worth of merchandise at Gamestop, and buy something for $1 at Family Dollar.
An FBI investigation found that Mr. Price had been absent without leave from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since June, 2010, the affidavit said. He was arrested this month.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy ordered Mr. Price held until Monday. If the Army doesn't take him into custody by then, he will be released on bond.
Neither Mr. Price nor his attorney, Jay J. Finkelstein, an assistant federal public defender, could be reached for immediate comment.
The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rich Lord is a reporter for the Post-Gazette.
Contact Rich Lord at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 412-263-1542