LOCKPORT – A former Lockport man, recently released from federal prison after a wire fraud conviction, was arraigned in Niagara County Court Tuesday on a charge of using his stepson’s name to sign up for utility service in 2012.
Keith J. Furman, 47, now lives with his parents in Pennsylvania after his release from prison, defense attorney Richard Shaw said.
Furman pleaded not guilty to third-degree grand larceny, first-degree identity theft and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. His stepson was away on military duty at the time of the alleged utility fraud, which totaled nearly $4,000.
Shaw said Furman was the former owner of Phoenix One Communications and Digital Advertising Experience. He said Furman had a deal to install large video screens in the Boulevard Mall but used part of his investors’ money to pay his employees, who were behind on receiving their salaries.
Federal prosecutors said at the time that Furman also tried to sell $25,000 worth of Internet telephones he didn’t actually own. He was ordered to pay $209,758 in restitution after completing his 18-month prison term.