A Pittsburgh man whose prosecution was part of an identity theft crackdown called “Operation Identity Crisis” is in trouble for trying to fool a notoriously no-nonsense federal judge with a forged letter asking for leniency, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. U.S. marshals are looking for James Lyle, 22, who was released from federal prison in May, after he failed to appear Thursday for a probation violation hearing before Judge Alan Bloch. Lyle, who had more than 3 million credit card numbers on his computer when police arrested him in 2003, was arrested last month on new theft charges stemming from an online purchase of a laptop computer with a stolen credit card.
At a hearing Dec. 13, Lyle admitted the new offense and the judge placed him on home detention until a space opens up for a six-month term at a halfway house. Lyle presented the judge with a letter purportedly from his boss at British Petroleum, indicating that Lyle was turning his life around and shouldn’t go back to jail. A prosecutor thought the letter looked suspicious; the boss said the letter was a forgery. Lyle, who was a manager-in-training at BP, got through the company’s criminal background check by claiming his felony record was really his father’s.