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Identity thief apprehended in Michigan

Feb 15, 2011 Brian Bradley

One recent case of fraud proves that even some of the most famous Hollywood directors are not exempt from being cheated out of money. The Detroit Free Press reports that famed director Peter Jackson was cheated out of $190,000 by a toy store owner in Royal Oak, Michigan. Richard Berry admitted that he had billed Jackson for almost $200,000 in fake charges to his credit card during the production of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The owner of the Michigan Toy Soldier Company was sentenced to 10 months behind bars and blamed his actions on the poor economy. "When the economy turned bad, my business started to suffer and funds started to dry up, which led me to make these bad choices," Berry wrote, according to the paper. "None of this justifies what I have done in this case. I took advantage of someone who I thought might not notice." The downturn in the economy has led many people to try to get away with fraudulent activity. The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that Dawn Cummings Solomon admitted she had stolen $4 million from the state of Maine in over-billing.