Modified: October 29, 2018 2:13pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 51-year-old George Piha of Queens, New York pleaded guilty before Erie County Court Judge James Bargnesi to three counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree, two counts of Burglary in the Third Degree and one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.
Between February 27, 2018 and July 12, 2018, the defendant admitted to unlawfully entering locker rooms at various fitness and aquatic centers where he stole credit cards from gym patrons. He used the stolen credit cards to purchase high-end electronics at Apple and Best Buy stores. In total, the defendant spent $95,355.49 in fraudulent purchases.
Piha faces a maximum of 35 years in prison when he is sentenced on Tuesday, December 11 at 2 p.m.
DA Flynn commends the investigative work by New York State Police Investigator Andrew Birtch, Detectives Thomas Westbrook and Herbert Leising of the Amherst Police Department, Detectives James Pappaceno and Dan Crowe of the West Seneca Police Department, Detectives Thomas Falsone and Gary Reinhart of the Town of Tonawanda Police Department and Detective Howard Widman of the Town of Hamburg Police Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gary M. Ertel of the DA’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit.