Oregon man faces prison for longtime identity theft

Sanne Specht reports:

A Medford man was sentenced Monday to one year and one day in prison for stealing the identity of a North Carolina man more than 40 years ago.

Gerald Lester Tracy, 65, also must pay back more than $28,000 in fraudulently obtained Social Security benefits, U.S. District Court Judge Owen Panner ruled.


Tracy acquired Thomas William Edgeworth’s birth certificate and assumed the North Carolina man’s identity sometime in 1967. Tracy stole Edgeworth’s identity because he wanted to start life anew without the baggage of his two felony robbery convictions, said federal prosecutor Judith Harper of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Over the past 42 years, Tracy led a life of deceit that entangled Edgeworth and at least two other men, Harper said.


The victim, the real Thomas Edgeworth, flew in from North Carolina to testify at Tracy’s sentencing. Edgeworth said he served in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years and is currently employed with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He has been battling fallout from Tracy’s actions since 1998, Edgeworth said.


Lisa Edgeworth said Tracy had been a good husband and father who had “built a whole new life,” making up for his past criminal acts by acting heroically, she said. In the past 40 years, she told the court, he has pulled people out of burning planes, saved toddlers and adults from potential cougar attacks and peaceably talked down an armed, inebriated and aggravated man.

The identity theft was “a victimless crime,” she said.

Well, no, Lisa. And I don’t think a year and a day is even close to appropriate.

Read more in the Mail Tribune.

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