A Grottoes man who stole relatives’ identities, opened credit cards and withdrew cash from an ATM will spend roughly four years behind bars.
Frank Gary Buckner, 53, pleaded guilty on Feb. 5 to felony identity theft and felony bank fraud.
This morning, during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg, Judge Michael Urbanski sentenced him to 42 months in prison. Buckner faced up to 32 years.
“His whole life is stealing from people,” Urbanski said during the hearing, noting Buckner’s frequent prison sentences. “He has learned nothing to keep him on the straight and narrow.”
Inspectors with the U.S. Postal Service filed a criminal complaint against Buckner on Oct. 15.
From Nov. 21, 2012, to Feb. 7, 2013, Buckner opened four credit cards in four people's names. All four victims are relatives.
Then, according to court records, he made purchases totaling more than $20,000 using the fraudulent credit cards. On Jan. 15, 2013, he used one credit card at the former BB&T bank on Augusta Avenue in Grottoes to withdraw $786.
Previous Criminal Record
Buckner has been convicted of similar crimes in the past.
In 2005, a federal grand jury indicted him on 32 counts of fraud. According to the indictment, Buckner used eBay to sell dozens of laptop computers that he didn't have in 2003.
He pleaded guilty to 29 counts in 2006 and was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised probation. He was released in 2010.
He was also in prison from 1992 to 1996 for writing bad checks, according to court testimony.
Buckner’s defense attorney, Andrea Harris, asked the judge for a lenient sentence, below the recommended sentencing guidelines of 42 to 48 months, because of her client’s health problems.
Buckner, according to court records, suffers from Pseudotumor Cerebri, which causes pressure to build up in the skull. The issue requires him to have frequent shunts put in and spinal taps.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Grayson Hoffman told the judge that a federal prison medical facility can handle the procedures. He also noted Buckner’s illness doesn’t stop his criminal activity.
“He committed these offenses when he had this condition,” Hoffman said in court.
The judge sided with the prosecutor.
Buckner was arrested on Oct. 21 and later released on a $10,000 bond. He remains free on bond and will self-report to prison on a date determined by the U.S. Marshals.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org