Updated 5:26 p.m.
A Washington man convicted of using more than $225,000 in counterfeit business checks to host lavish parties was sentenced Friday to 96 months in prison by a federal district judge in Virginia.
Austin Davidson, 32, who pleaded guilty in December to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, was also ordered to pay $227,281 in restitution to victims of a scheme that prosecuting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride likened to that of Frank Abagnale Jr., whose 1960s check forgeries became the focus of Hollywood movie Catch Me If You Can.
“Austin Davidson wanted to live the high life – but he didn’t want to pay for it,” MacBride wrote in a statement. “But each scam required that he get away in the nick of time, and the Secret Service ultimately caught up with him."
With the help of a computer and printer, Davidson would produce checks bearing the names of well-known financial companies like JP Morgan Chase and The Carlyle Group. Then, assuming the identity of a company employee, he would use these checks to rent upscale homes, purchasing catered food and limousine service for parties he hosted.
While living in the rented homes, Davidson also occasionally stole property of the owners, including personal checks that were then used to buy, among other things, a Mercedes Benz.
According to a Justice Department press release, at the time he was caught, Davidson had a party planned for the night following his arrest in conjunction with a championship boxing match in D.C.
At his sentencing, United States District Judge Liam O’Grady also considered Davidson's history of check fraud and identity theft, crimes he was first convicted of when he was 17 years old.