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ID thief arrested in Baltimore;
suspect stole identity of Fort Myers man

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Contact:
Lt. Malcolm Rhodes or
Florida Highway Patrol

For Release January 22, 2002

TALLAHASSEE: Colonel Christopher A. Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, announced today the arrest of a Baltimore man, identified as Larry Peter Karakosta, on four counts of identity theft, title fraud and fraudulent application for a Florida Driver's License. The arrest resulted from charges filed earlier this week in Lee County by the Office of Statewide Prosecution. The Office of Statewide Prosecution was requested to assist the Florida Highway Patrol in the investigation due to the multi-circuit activity in the case. Investigators documented criminal activity occurring in a number of jurisdictions including Collier, Sarasota, Manatee and Lee Counties. Larry Peter Karakosta was also wanted on a four-count felony warrant for Habitual Traffic Offender out of Lee County and a Child Support writ out of Collier County.

The investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol revealed Karakosta stole the identity of James Phillip Bushman, a resident of North Ft. Myers, Florida. Mr. Bushman discovered his identity had been stolen when he went to a Florida driver license office to obtain a replacement license. Subsequent investigation by FHP Lt. Paul Henry revealed that Larry Peter Karakosta fraudulently used the victim's personal information in a number of ways, including titling a vehicle in Lee County and obtaining a fraudulent driver license in Manatee County.

Karakosta also used the information to avoid providing his real identity to law enforcement officials by presenting the fraudulent license when he was stopped for traffic violations on two occasions in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. This fraudulent activity resulted in points accumulating on the real James Bushman's driving record. Karakosta also used Bushman's identity to obtain employment in Naples and open a bank account in Naples, all under Bushman's name.

Karakosta had been living under Bushman's assumed identity in Baltimore, Maryland until his arrest today. Investigators will confirm Karakosta's true identity by making a fingerprint comparison.

A Lee County Judge set Karakosta's bond at $250,000.00. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

 


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