Identity theft artist sentenced to eight years

CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who scammed nearly $260,000 from more than a dozen Cleveland-area businesses and residents through identify theft has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Ali Shabazz, 28, of Warrensville Heights, pleaded guilty to 45 felonies, including racketeering.
Assistant Prosecutor Matt Norman said this was the worst case of identity theft seen in Cuyahoga County. He wanted Shabazz sentenced to 63 years in prison.
But defense attorney Brian McGraw pointed out that former Cleveland stockbroker Frank Gruttadauria received a seven-year sentence for defrauding clients of millions of dollars. He said it would be disproportionate for the court to give Shabazz a 63-year prison term.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)