Paul Allen Pretender Returned to U.S. Army

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania man charged by the FBI with stealing the identity of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has been turned over to the U.S. Army this week. Twenty-eight-year-old Brandon Lee Price must first face a charge for going AWOL from his unit. He isn't in custody – instead he has been returned to his unit (the 10th Mountain Division) in Fort Polk, Louisiana. He is accused of leaving his unit at Fort Polk without authorization in early July 2010.

Major Lewis Kliem told The Associated Press that he was found by the Army after the FBI charged him. He will serve with his unit while the desertion charge is processed, according to Kliem, who is the senior prosecutor handling criminal prosecutions at the Louisiana base.

Price's commanders will decided whether to proceed with a general court martial, or a special court martial. Price faces 18-months in jail if convicted in a general court martial, while the special court martial (a faster process) could lead to 12 months in jail if convicted. No matter while type of court martial Price faces, he could be dishonorably discharged or face a bad conduct discharge.

The Army's 120-day speedy trial rule makes it so that Price can return to Pittsburgh to face charges on the FBI bank fraud charge.

Price was arrested on March 2 in Pittsburgh. According to the FBI complaint filed last month, Price contacted Citibank in January pretending to be Paul Allen and asked them to change the address on one of Allen's accounts from Seattle to Pittsburgh. Price called back three days later to tell the company that he had lost his debit card and asked them to issue him a new one. After he received the card at the Pittsburgh address he tried to use it to make a $15,000 Western Union transaction and a $658.81 payment on the Armed Forces Bank loan account. Price also tried to use the card to buy items at a video game store and a dollar store.

The bank detected the fraud and alerted law enforcement. Even though Price tried to access Allen's funds, he was never successful, according to law enforcement.

Source Associated Press

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