A Michigan man was sentenced to 4½ years in federal prison after being found guilty of identity theft during cellphone purchases in nine Nebraska cities.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Smith Camp on Monday also ordered Christopher C. Heinz, 30, to pay restitution in the amount of $22,126. He was found guilty of the fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and aggravated identity theft.

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Prosecutors said Heinz used stolen IDs of credit-worthy people to purchase high-end cellphones at retail stores from December 2017 through June 2018. The purchases were made in Kearney, Holdrege, Norfolk, Beatrice, Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, Ainsworth and O’Neill, Nebraska.

Heinz provided counterfeit driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers belonging to actual people to stores to qualify for credit.

After leaving prison, Heinz will be placed on three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Social Security Administration, the Nebraska State Patrol and several local law enforcement agencies.

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kevin.cole@owh.com, 402-444-1272

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