Man who stole his brother’s identity pleads guilty

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A man who stole his brother’s identity to withdraw thousands of dollars from his bank account pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated identity theft before the District Court for the NMI last week as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. government.

Brian Galang Lizama admitted that he impersonated his brother and made a number of withdrawals from his brother’s Bank of Guam account, totaling over $30,000.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona accepted Lizama’s guilty plea. She then unsealed the plea agreement and vacated the jury trial scheduled for Oct. 27, 2020. The federal court scheduled Lizama’s sentencing for Feb. 24, 2021, at 9am.

Aggravated identity theft usually carries a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment and $100 special assessment fee, as well as a maximum fine of $250,000. Lizama was originally charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. With the plea deal, it is presumed that the bank fraud charge will be dropped.

After serving a sentence that has yet to be imposed on him, Lizama will be placed on one-year probation and will pay restitution in the amount of $30,850.

Lizama is currently serving time at the Department of Corrections for a criminal theft conviction in Superior Court.

At the change of plea hearing last week, Manglona ordered Lizama to report to the U.S. Probation Office no later than three days after being released from CNMI Corrections.

According to the indictment, between Dec. 23, 2019, and Feb. 5, 2020, Lizama obtained a Saipan mayor’s ID in the name of his brother who was in jail at that time. Lizama then used the ID to make withdrawals from his brother’s Bank of Guam savings account totaling over $30,000. It was not immediately learned why his brother was in jail.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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