A Fairfax City man was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on charges that he used a home computer to gain private credit card information on about 80 consumers and then charged $50,000 worth of computer and other electronic equipment to their accounts.
The 15-count indictment, returned in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, alleged that Richard P. Shanklin, 30, of 3406 Brookwood Dr., used secret access codes to tap into Credit Bureau Inc. of Atlanta, a credit reporting firm, and obtain credit card numbers and credit limit information on individuals.
Among the consumers whose numbers allegedly were obtained by Shanklin were well-known entertainers, including actress Linda Blair, according to the indictment. A source familiar with the investigation said data on actress Cheryl Ladd also was allegedly obtained. The Credit Bureau could not be reached for comment yesterday.
A number of the individuals whose credit information allegedly was obtained had recently died, the indictment said.
The indictment charged Shanklin, who was convicted two years ago of computer fraud, called a variety of computer and radio equipment retailers between last September and April 28 and ordered a wide range of merchandise, using the names and VISA, Mastercard or other credit card numbers he allegedly had stolen.
The grand jury alleged the equipment was delivered, usually by United Parcel Service, to a Northern Virginia freight depot or to Shanklin's home. An FBI affidavit filed in the case said the roof of Shanklin's single-family home holds seven types of antennas, including ones for microwave, short wave, amateur radio and television reception.
Items allegedly purchased by Shanklin included a Panasonic video tape recorder and camera valued at about $1,500; an airline ticket worth $565; an Epson computer printer and accessories worth $912; home computers and amateur radio gear, according to the indictment. One alleged order for home video equipment, phoned in to One Call Video in Middletown, N.Y., totaled $4,500, the grand jury charged.
Shanklin was convicted in 1981 in Alexandria on computer-related wire fraud charges and served a one-year sentence at a federal prison in Lexington, Ky., according to court records. A lawyer for Shanklin, Stanley Klein, yesterday declined to comment on the new charges.
Shanklin is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Alexandria on Tuesday. He was charged yesterday with six counts of wire fraud, six counts of credit card fraud and three counts of obtaining consumer information for fraudulent purposes.
If convicted of all counts against him, Shanklin faces a maximum penalty of 93 years in prison and $69,000 in fines.