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

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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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.