Florida convict blames Verizon for letting him steal man's identity

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A Florida man sentenced to 10 years in prison for using a stolen identity to obtain more than $300 in products and services from Verizon Wireless is suing the company for not stopping him.

James Leslie Kelly was convicted in October of grand theft and criminal use of personal identification information in connection with a May 7, 2015, incident, according to court records.

On that date, Kelly, 52, went to a Highlands County Verizon store and used his ID to steal from an existing customer with the same first and last name, but different middle name, he claims in a federal lawsuit.

The suit, filed last week, claims the Verizon employee spent an hour and a half with him and should have realized that the ID and information from the existing customer account did not match.

Kelly claims Verizon’s “negligence” caused a “loss of civil liberties and freedoms,” because he was convicted and sentenced to prison in connection with the case.

He is seeking $72 million in damages.

Kelly has a criminal history stretching back to 1985 when he was convicted of grand theft with a firearm and sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison.

Between 1985 and 2014, he was convicted at least 37 times on charges including rental property fraud, trafficking in stolen property, receiving money through fraudulent use of a credit card.

As of Monday, Verizon had not responded to the lawsuit.

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